A Star Is Born (1937)

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The original classic film that was successfully remade in 1954, 1976, and 2018. The 1937 version still packs a punch as it deals with the Hollywood archetypes of the rising star Vicki Lester (played by Janet Gaynor) and the alcoholic Hollywood has-been Norman Maine (played by Fredric March). Gaynor is as fresh and innocent as the farm girl with Hollywood dreams that she is portraying, and March is as cynical as the old Hollywood star whose career is on the downslide. While its polished Hollywood myth-making is not nearly as dark as the truth, it still features some witty dialogue, particularly from a sleazy publicity agent played by Lionel Stander. The story is well choreographed with familiar moments and scenes if you've seen the remakes. The early Technicolor is a little muddy, but it is still amazing to see Hollywood sites like Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Bowl in the 1930s. Gaynor and March deliver many classic moments in this quintessential Hollywood tragedy, which encourages us that the show must go on!

A Star Is Born is a 1937 American Technicolor romantic drama film produced by David O. Selznick and directed by William A. Wellman, with a script by Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell. It stars Janet Gaynor as an aspiring Hollywood actress, and Fredric March as an aging movie star who helps launch her career. Other members of the cast include Adolphe Menjou, May Robson, Andy Devine, and Lionel Stander.

Contemporary reviews were very positive. Frank S. Nugent of The New York Times called the film "one of the year's best shows" as well as "good entertainment by any standards, including the artistic, and convincing proof that Hollywood need not travel to Ruritania for its plots; there is drama aplenty in its own backyard."

At the 10th Academy Awards, A Star is Born was nominated in seven categories, winning in one. Wellman won the award for original story, the only Oscar he was to win during his career. W. Howard Greene received an honorary Academy Award for the film's color photography; this award was recommended by a committee of leading cinematographers after viewing all the color pictures made during the year.

(Summary from Wikipedia)

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