Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Star Is Born, 1976 (Grade B-)

Director: Frank Pierson
Any Awards?  Yes both Academy Awards & Golden Globes --winners and more nominations
Cast:  Barbara Streisand;  Kris Kristofferson;  Gary Busey;  Oliver Clark;  Venetta Fields;  Clyde King;  Marta Heflin;  M G Kelly;  Sally Kirkland;  Joanne Linville

plot summary: a remake of the 1930s classic--that was remade in the 1950s with Judy Garland--this being the third incarnation... about a young woman (Esther Hoffman played by Streisand) who is on the brink of stardom, thanks to her monumental singing talent and her nurturing mentor, (John Norman Howard  ie: Kris Kristofferson). He is a veteran rocker who's also her lover/husband. Unfortunately, his once-bright luster is on the wane just as her star is on the rise.Can love prevail?

sez says:  we decided to watch the three versions of this movie back to back --to see how they are the same and how they are different.  Among other things, this one deals with music/rock rather than the movies .....that is, if you can imagine Barbara Streisand as a rock star.  Sure she is talented --but rock star? I think not.  
Kristofferson is amazingly good -- his addictions to drugs and alcohol are played to be as much foisted on him as they are a choice that he is making.  He is a man with talent but with no practical skills. He is lost in this world.  At one point he says he has no idea how to balance a check book: he is at a loss to negotiate the simplest things in every day life. He is a one trick pony: He can write and sing.  He lives in a mansion that is a slum inside. He depends on others to take care of him but they exploit him.   He hasn't a clue how to get by--except he can recognizes talent and Esther has talent.  He can help her develop--so long as we are talking strictly about the singing and writing.   He means no harm but he is constantly in pain. Not even a good woman can save him. He makes his character real, difficult to understand and tragic.

Esther/Striesand seems to be mostly making sure she looks and sounds as good as she can.  And she can--in both cases--look and sound good.  But is that acting?   She and Kristoferson are a hard match to make. But it ultimately works.  It is an old story..and obviously one with legs --it  was a hit in the 1930s , again in the 1950s and again in the 1970s...

mjc says: I like the house in the desert and Kristofferson's clothes.  Overall it would have been improved by stripping out the sound track.

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