friday classic film blogging

A Star is Born. (1954.) Directed by George Cukor. Written by Moss Hart. Starring Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson, Charles Bickford, Tommy Noonan.

A few Christmases ago - more than a few, actually, close to ten now - a couple of friends showed me a clip from the Judy Garland television show, one where she sings a duet with Barbara Streisand, and they told me to watch carefully: during the song, when the two of them get into it and area really supposed to be belting the tune, Judy clutches at Streisand's hand in panic, and you can see young Barbara's eyes widen when she realizes just how frightened Garland is.

Even after that, for me Judy Garland was still a camp figure, a deeply talented but sadly pathetic creature, just the embodiment of a Hollywood legend, the fallen actress, the kind that Patty Duke lampooned in Valley of the Dolls (1967). It wasn't until I saw A Star is Born a few years ago that I got a fuller picture of who Garland was. "Vicki Lester" isn't Garland, per se, but you can tell that it's more than just a part.

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