A Star Is Born teams Garland with James Mason, for one of Hollywood's most cherished musicals. Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin teamed up on the songs, and we follow the story of Garland's Esther, a singer whose career is just starting to take off. Going in the other direction is Mason's Norman, an actor struggling with drink. These two opposites soon attract, although A Star Is Born is no fairytale: this is a film dealing with no shortage of issues.
It's that complexity that gives it all the more depth and resonance though, and makes Esther and Norman's story as compelling as it is. Furthermore, it's a film that's held up to the rigours of time well, and the excellent work on this Blu-ray release certainly helps there. The video quality of the restoration is quite brilliant, with rich colours and details continually on display. The audio has its limits, but that's more tied into the age of the source material, and how it was originally recorded. It's hard to think that it'll ever sound better than it does on this Blu-ray.
There are some welcome supplements too, comprised of a surprising amount of archive material that's been brought together. It's a fascinating collection to wade through, and while it's hardly probing, it's still easy to lose yourself in. Hopefully, with the benefit of such a welcome Blu-ray release, A Star Is Born, and the wonder that was Judy Garland, can go on to entertain for a good deal longer. --Jon Foster
It has a whole array of cracking songs, from the opening dance number 'Gotta Have Me Go With You' to the marvellous 'Born in a Trunk' ensemble and, of course, the classic 'The Man That Got Away', of which Garland's recording is undoubtedly the definitive version. By and large I'm not a huge fan of Ira Gershwin's lyrics, but this film proves that a great song is about great emotion, and some of these provocative numbers will surely get your heart pounding.
What sets 'Star' apart from other classic musicals is that, despite having great songs, these aren't what the film is about. This is a genuinely moving tale of tragedy, sublimely acted by the two leads; Garland displays real vulnerability and yet also power, while Mason shows the depth of a man on the edge of oblivion, fighting with alcoholism and his inner demons. Some of these incredibly heartfelt scenes bring a tear (or more) to the eye.
So, a fantastic film, but it’s immeasurably enhanced by this two-disc 50th anniversary edition. The version of the film included here is the completely restored 169 minute cut, containing original scenes and stills lost over the years in various re-releases. Of course, it’s been digitally remastered and is presented in beautiful 2.55:1 widescreen format with 5.1 digital sound – the perfect presentation of Warner Bros’ first Cinemascope production. The second disc is devoted entirely to extras, and there’s a marvellous selection here. It begins with three alternative versions of ‘The Man That Got Away’ which, aside from being great to watch and listen to, also provide tremendous insight into the filmmaking and design process. There’s also a short clip featuring ‘When My Sugar Walks Down the Street’, a song originally filmed for the ‘Born in a Trunk’ sequence but not included in the final cut. There’s full coverage of the Hollywood premiere of the film, with a newsreel, full 30 minute TV special and speeches (including Garland’s) from the after-show party. There’s also a short promotional video from Jack Warner (one of the brothers) and a few audio clips.
Quite simply, ‘A Star is Born’ is an essential purchase for fans of Garland, good musicals, or emotional drama in general, and this wonderful package just makes the experience even more special.
This film is probably the best example of Judy Garland's versatality as a performer and highlights her ability as a great dramatic actress. Her performance earned her a well deserved oscar nomination and added to an already impressive film career as she was still only 32.
The film has numerous high points, many of which were cut after its' inititial premiere but have since been found and rightfully restored including 2 musical numbers 'here's what I'm here for' and 'lose that long face'. The songs by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin become instant Judy standards.
This product's forum
Active discussions in related forums
Search Customer Discussions