2022 Blind Spot Series: A Star is Born (1954)
Norman Maine (James Mason) is an aging actor whose drinking away all his good graces. He comes across a performer, Esther (Judy Garland) and is taken with her talent. He makes it his mission to make her a star, all while falling in love with her as well.
Shockingly, the 2018 film is the only version of A Star Is Born that I had seen prior to watching this. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. But I've been trying to watch more of Judy's films and I knew I had to see this.
I still have the same problems with this version that I did with 2018, and it's just I think the story and the romance between the two leads is gross. This is a little less gross than the 2018 version, but I could never get behind it. Thankfully, Judy Garland gives an absolutely spectacular performance and every time she sang, I was entranced. I loved her in this. James Mason was also very good, but Judy's the star.
This is however a hard movie to love overall since the version I watched was the "remastered" one that included still photographs to replace the missing reels. It's currently available to stream on HBO Max and I kind of wish they would've just cut those pieces out entirely. This movie is 3 hours long and doesn't need to be. It feels a bit unfair, because that's now how the film was intended to be seen, but it's what we have so I can't ignore it.
I'm glad I got around to watching one of Judy's most famous performances. It's easily up there with her best. (Meet Me in St. Louis is still my favorite)