Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A Star Is Born, once again

Back again to 1954 and Warner Bros' great musical A STAR IS BORN - I have done a lengthly post on it already, see labels, but just now want to focus on that great number "The Man That Got Away" - there are 3 different versions (below), as per the restored dvd (which also has that all-star premiere footage). I find the other 2 versions just as marvellous as the one they went with in the movie ... Judy delivers every time and the number is brilliantly staged for the widescreen each time, and then there's that lush rich Warnercolor .... and those lyrics: "the night is bitter, the stars have lost their glitter...."  - above: "You Gotta Have Me Go With You" at the opening gala benefit where "Mr Maine is feeling no pain".
Such a shame the film was cut to fit in more showings, but at least now we have it restored as much as possible - the story makes more sense now showing how Norman lost and then found Esther again before her screen test, and that lovely scene where the microphone picks up their conversation ... it made no sense in the cut version when he tells her to think of a man eating a nutburger when she was nervous, as the earlier scene with her working in the hamburger joint had been cut ! 
I was about 8 when I first saw A STAR IS BORN but those images on the widescreen were indelible, not only Judy's numbers but others like that great scene at the Academy Awards, and that beach house with the glass windows reflecting the sunset as Norman goes for his swim .... it is the greatest musical drama ever. 
Now too, our Sky Arts channel here is showing those early 60's black and white Judy shows which are fascinating time capsules of popular music then: Judy with the young Barbra Streisand, as well as Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, Ethel Merman etc. I never saw those at the time or since ... 


  1. What I found incredible that had been cut was the Lose That Long Face number just before her big dressing room breakdown. Not only is it a good number but adds so much to the other scene and when she goes back out after to reshoot her closeup and plasters that smile on her face I thought it was a great commentary on truth vs illusion in film.

  2. Very true - there is a similar moment in her I COULD GO ON SINGING in 1963 - she sings a powerhouse number on stage and then strides off ignoring the applause as she resumes her conversation with her manager about the son she wants to get back .... it shows how the audience loves her but she is obsessed about her own problem.