Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1937. Selznick International Pictures. Screenplay by Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell, Robert Carson, based on a story by William A. Wellman, Robert Carson. Cinematography by W. Howard Greene. Produced by David O. Selznick. Music by Max Steiner. Production Design by Lansing C. Holden. Costume Design by Omar Kiam. Film Editing by James E. Newcom. Academy Awards 1937.
Second version of this story after 1933’s What Price Hollywood has timid Janet Gaynor move to Hollywood from her backwater town and try to hit the big time. She meets movie star Fredric March, they fall in love, and while her star is on the ascendant thanks to his help and influence, he slowly spirals downwards into grief, dispair and alcoholism. Judy Garland’s 1954 version is the best one, but this Technicolour melodrama doesn’t fall very far short, and Gaynor’s marvelous performance is one good reason why that is so. Dorothy Parker contributed to the excellent screenplay.