A Star Is Born (1937)

WILLIAM A. WELLMAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1937.  Screenplay by , , , based on a story by William A. Wellman, Robert Carson.  Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by

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, despair 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.

Academy Awards:  Best Original Story; Special Award for Colour Cinematography
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (Fredric March); Best Actress (Janet Gaynor); Best Director (William Wellman); Best Screenplay; Best Assistant Director (Eric Stacey)

Venice Film Festival: In Competition

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