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4.5 out of 5 stars78
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 27 February 2003
Those who say that 'Star' is the performance of Garland's career are not exaggerating - this is, undoubtedly, one of the greatest musicals of all time.
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.
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on 7 September 2015
A fine and classy melodrama directed by a giant of old Hollywood and with just few flaws and many virtues. It looks like a classic but it is not so relying on tears and emphatic moments, rather on splendid and charming musical scenes and quite dramatic and disenchanted confrontation where James Mason definitely prevails over Judy Garland, who is, to me, still too manneristic if compared to Mason (although Judy gives her best performance here)
A Star is born is a genuinely dramatic tale of two people united and separated by the changing fortunes that Showbusiness can bring.
The blu ray edition is pretty remarkable, rich of extras and with an excellent HD transfer
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on 27 January 2003
A triumphant return to the screen after a 4 year absence, her last being MGM'S 'Summer Stock' in 1950. Judy was always capable of making a mediocre script look good, but here she has full support starting with the wonderful screenplay by Moss Hart, expert directin by George Cukor and James Mason, perfect as her co-star helping Judy (Esther Blodgett) realise her obvious talent.
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.
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VINE VOICEon 6 July 2013
This is one of the finest films about Hollywood ever put on celluloid and so I just had to upgrade my dvd copy to Blu-ray. All the proposed extras however are on the DVD and sadly NOT on the bluray.
The film quality is excellent and this is the fully restored film but how sad that they didn't fully restore in the extras dept.
If the studios want us to replenish our collections in this format then they will have to start getting better with the extras otherwise what is the point?
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on 8 January 2004
Absolute classic..if you have yet introduced yourself to Judy Garland this is a great first choice.
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on 17 April 2012
This is the one you must watch. There is talk of a new version of A Star is Born with Beyonce, it can't be as good as this no matter how hard it tries. The reason why this is so good is that all the cast can act, that may sound silly but I mean really act. James Mason is wonderful as the star on the slide who is offered a chance of redemption and takes it. If any proof is needed that Judy Garland is a wonderful actor as well as singer then this is it, her emotional range as she watches the man she loves sliding into despair is wonderful, as much as anything for its understatement.

Then there is the supporting cast who are uniformly excellent. Have your hankies ready because you will cry. The extras are also excellent, especially the different versions of The Man that Got Away as you realise how a vision is created.
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on 26 April 2013
Fantastic cinemascope transfer of this classic film, im sorry to say NO extras at all not even a trailer shame on you Warner Bros even on the old 2 disc dvd we got a second disc with some nice extras on loads of space on blu ray to include these so why not?trying to get people to go over to hi def format this is not a good selling point.By the way over the pond the US blu ray is a 2 disc set with 4 hours of extras as usual the UK market misses out boo!!!!!! Mark, Wallasey, Wirral.
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on 10 March 2012
The Blu Ray follows the 2 disc DVD Special Edition format but with more extras & a booklet.

A "restoration of" & a "making of" segment in the extras would have been icing on the cake.

Technical details are: -

Video
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.55:1 Full CinemaScope aspect NOT 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.55:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 2.0
Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles

English SDH, French, Spanish
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)

Discs
50GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)

Packaging
DigiBook

Playback
Region free
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 September 2013
The blu ray is a tremendous high quality restoration whose transfer I cannot recommend too highly. However it is long - very long - and for me I'm sorry to say - the newly restored cut sequences slow it down even further. The musical sequences are magnificently performed but of immense length too and often diminish the dramatic tension achieved in the scenes between Mason and Garland to such an extent I wished they were half the length or even that the film had been made as a straightforward drama not a 3hour mixture of both. Still that's me and - although it was not that well received at it's original release - I know that many fans now love it dearly. So for them at least this new quality blu ray will be a "must have"! It certainly has excellent audio and video.
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on 11 January 2015
Firstly - I love this movie and both of it's stars.
I have watched "A Star Is Born" many times over the years, including the cut version, and the fairly recent (still photo & audio) restored version. I have seen the film at the cinema and as I remember it was in the second half that I began to feel that the music and singing was heavily getting in the way of the drama. All of the songs are first class and Judy is just astounding in all of them but unfortunately in my humble opinion one or possibly two of them weakened the over all dramatic tension towards the end.

Judy was always astoundingly terrific, but in this case less was probably more. Warner Brothers obviously saw it this way but didn't quite get it right with the cuts. Sorry folks but the "Somewhere There's A Someone" scene (Brilliantly done by Judy) stopped the story in it's tracks. It should have gone from Norman Maine receiving the postman's parcel and going for a drink fading into the Oscar Ceremony as this would have given us a much grittier cinematic flow. OK I know the song came before the Postman but they could have edited it nicely.

On the other hand there are two songs that were originally cut from the film (again in my opinion) that should have stayed in there -

1 - "What Am I Here For"
It's the marriage proposal scene done over a microphone which is so cute and funny and underlines the romance.

2 - "Go lose that long face"
After her dressing room breakdown scene she has to go out and sing and dance to this song - Powerful stuff!

Both of these songs further the development of the plot. Warner got it wrong.

Best song - "The Man That Got Away" Oscar nominated (should have won)

"Born In A Trunk" - Long but glorious!

Whatever version you see this is a triumph of a movie for James Mason & the first lady of the Hollywood Musical the one and only miss Judy Garland.
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