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:
For some excellent reading about where this film was shot, check out one of my favorite blogs:
To see more Judy Garland photos, visit my regular website.