Saturday, May 29, 2010

Screen Gem Saturdays: Restoration of "A Star Is Born" (1954)



I was extremely excited to hear that Warner Brothers was going to release the 1954 Judy Garland movie "A Star Is Born” on Blu-ray; I held out hope that the remaining few minutes of footage that had yet to surface might have been found. Unless Warner Brothers is going to surprise us though, it looks like the version being released will still be minus a few bits and pieces. On the bright side, the Blu-ray special edition is chock full of extras and the movie has undergone yet another extensive restoration. Should be a beauty! If you’re not familiar with how this film was butchered shortly after its release (so that theaters could show it more times per day), then you should read Ron Haver's fantastic book documenting the exhaustive search for the deleted footage.

One of the sequences originally cut showed Judy's character, Esther Blodgett, attempting to make ends meet as a carhop serving burgers.



This still is from another deleted sequence (for which the footage is still missing) where Norman Maine (James Mason) finally finds Esther (Judy), washing her hair on the rooftop of her apartment:



According to the Judy Garland fansite The Judy Room, a complete print DOES exist. It’s an interesting tale of studio vs. individual, where the lines are somewhat blurred as to who is holding up the release of this rare footage:

http://www.thejudyroom.com/asib/asib-article.html

For some excellent reading about where this film was shot, check out one of my favorite blogs:

http://dearoldhollywood.blogspot.com/2010/03/star-is-born-1954-film-locations.html





To see more Judy Garland photos, visit my regular website.

3 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

In the car hop scene, does Esther serve Cream....OF WWWHHHHEAT?

Skinny Arbuckle.... said...

warner bros. does a good job of remembering their past. glad this classic is coming to blu ray!

Chiana_Chat said...

More than one complete print so it has been said... not all the theaters had all the prints cut.

They would be IB ("dye transfer") Technicolor print which has mixed consequences quality wise for a home video release of any footage sourced from it by typical methods.

What amazes me is that the negatives were junked...