James Mason is an actor on the wane who takes a young ingenue under his wing to cultivate her raw talent into Hollywood super stardom. As she rises, Mason becomes increasingly despondent, resulting in a dramatic conclusion.
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This film is really bloated. Upon viewing the directors cut I can see why so much was trimmed. However, Judy's "Man That Got Away" gives chills. My fav moment of her entire career. Slays me every time I hear it
Archetypal backstage melodrama blown up to the size of myth, the "omega of musicals," per Richard Brody. Cukor synthesizes 25 years of movie-musical history into an epic of emotional style, with the tragic, vulnerable Judy Garland at the center of it all. I particularly love the opening sequence, a kind of abstract overture that encapsulates the ambivalent fascination of Hollywood fame.
Starts out strong. Madonna and Almodovar owe quite a debt to Cukor. The restored bits, composed of read lines and stills, is the saddest restoration I've ever seen. A whole reel went missing.Then, the second half drags quite a bit. Worth watching, but uneven.
There are many mirrors on display here to reflect and break, and Star is obviously a tragedy - it wasn't long into the short history of film that it realised the dashed lives the business was built on. Its elaborate construction (esp. showbiz scenes) are stunning, making it poison and cure, the artifice and the critique within. But Garland stands above all, a sincerity so moving we never consider "acting". 4.5
The dubious premise and Garland's age are two strikes against it. The third strike is the length of the film. And yet, and yet....she is a great artist and the rapport between her and Mason is magical. Other pluses: "The Man That Got Away," "It's a New World" and the beautiful look of the film.