Watch closely now! Revisit the history of A Star Is Born, from 1937 to 2018.
WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT FOUR VERSIONS OF THE HEARTBREAKING ROMANCE THAT’S ALWAYS EVERGREEN
STARS: Janet Gaynor, Fredric March
PRODUCER: David O. Selznick; also produced Gone With the Wind
DIRECTOR: William A. Wellman STORY: Aspiring actress Esther Blodgett is discovered by fading movie star Norman Maine who helps launch her career. Esther’s name is changed to Vicki Lester. When Vicki decides to give up her career to nurse alcoholic Norman, he drowns himself in the Pacific. BUDGET: $1.2 million
BOX OFFICE: Over $2 million MUSIC: “A Star Is Born,” sung by Buddy Clark.
AWARDS: Wellman and Robert Carson won an Oscar for best writing; also earned six other
FUN FACT: Famed Algonquin Round Table member Dorothy Parker contributed to the screenplay. STARS: Judy Garland, James Mason
PRODUCER: Sid Luft; husband of Judy Garland DIRECTOR: George Cukor; he had been replaced as director on Gone With the Wind
STORY: Now Esther is an aspiring singer discovered by former matinee idol Norman Maine. She changes her name to Vicki Lester, and her career soars.
Alcoholic Norman is arrested; realizing that he’s dragging her down, Norman drowns himself. BUDGET: $5 million
BOX OFFICE: $6.1 million MUSIC: Biggest hit: “The Man That Got Away,” sung by Judy with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.
AWARDS: Six Oscar nominations (Judy lost to Grace Kelly in The Country Girl)
FUN FACT: Luft wanted to cast Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart or Frank Sinatra as Norman, but studio head Jack Warner eventually signed James Mason.