Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-11-14
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



The many lives of A Star is Born

by Matt Simonette

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Director Bradley Cooper's 2018 version of A Star is Born, reviewed by Jerry Nunn this week, is the fourth—and some fans would say the fifth—version of the classic story that asks the question, what price Hollywood? Few industries are as self-reflexive as Hollywood is, so it's little surprise that so many films have returned to this particular well over the years.

William Wellman's 1937 version of A Star is Born set the story of upstart Esther Blodgett, a.k.a. Vicki Lester, and Norman Maine in the movie business, and starred Janet Gaynor and Frederic March. Produced by David O. Selznick ( Gone With the Wind ), the film shared many of the same narrative beats as 1932's What Price Hollywood?, which was directed by gay filmmaker George Cukor and starred Constance Bennett and Lowell Sherman. The 1937 film is not an official remake, but the stories were close enough that the the distributors of What Price Hollywood? considered legal action.

Some 17 years later, Cukor returned to the story for a lavish 1954 Warner Bros. remake that starred Judy Garland and James Mason. Filmed in CinemaScope, this new film was produced by Garland's then-husband, Sid Luft, and utilized songs from Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin, among others.

Production on the 1954 film was tumultuous however, and the film initially ended up running well over three hours. Warner Bros. cut the film down to about 154 minutes, over Garland and Cukor's protests. Nevertheless, the film was positively received and Garland and Mason were both nominated for Oscars. Years later, preservationist Ron Haver spearheaded a massive restoration effort to get the 1954 near its its original length; he found much of the footage and most of the soundtrack, using production stills as well, to bring the film back to a 183 minute running-time. That is the version widely available on home video now.

One other performer with a huge gay following, Barbra Streisand, tackled the story in 1976. Her co-star was Kris Kristofferson, who played John Norman Howard to Streisand's Esther Hoffman in a story that was was reset in the world of rock music. The film was a labor of love for Streisand as well as for her then-partner, Jon Peters, who produced. Peters, who had previously been a prominent Hollywood hair stylist, subsequently was one of the most powerful producers and studio executives of the '80s and '90s; among his hits was 1989's Batman.

The film received generally poor reviews, with many critics of the time ribbing Streisand for what they perceived as her ego peering from the screen. But paying audiences were kinder: The 1976 A Star is Born was a hit, and it provided Streisand with her song "Evergreen," which was one of the biggest hits of her career.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Tom Volf talks Maria by Callas 2018-11-15 - Maria by Callas filmmaker Tom Volf recently chatted with the Windy City Times ahead of the film's Chicago release. Featuring footage from the ...

Gay News

Director Borden to appear after Born in Flames screening 2018-11-14 - Film director Lizzie Borden will appear during a question-and-answer session following a free screening of her 1983 feminist classic Born in Flames on ...

Gay News

Alyson Stoner, actress/singer/dancer on Ms. Jackson, acting, coming out 2018-11-14 - Being in the glare of the spotlight—especially for those who have been in the public eye since childhood—can be harsh. However, Alyson Stoner, ...

Gay News

Black Alphabet Film Festival Nov. 16-17 2018-11-14 - Black Alphabet returns Nov. 16-17 with its signature event, the Black Alphabet Film Festival ( BAFF ). It will take place at Malcolm ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Rihanna, 'Riverdale,' Glenn Close, Ezra Miller 2018-11-13 - Rihanna reportedly sent President Donald Trump a cease-and-desist letter after learning that her music was being used to hype up the crowd at ...

Gay News

Tig Notaro adopts a new role in 'Instant Family' 2018-11-13 - Out comic, actress and writer Tig Notaro has a new movie this November called Instant Family. The film also stars Mark Wahlberg, Rose ...

Gay News

Dear Ex Debuts in the US 2018-11-12 - The Asian Pop-Up Cinema is currently running through Nov. 14 in Chicago with screenings at AMC River East 21. One film from Taiwan ...

Gay News

Billy Masters 2018-11-07 - "God's greatest gift to me."—Tim Cook tells Christiane Amanpour how he views being born gay. I couldn't have said it better myself. Some ...

Gay News

Flawed 'Rhapsody' features champion Malek performance 2018-11-06 - Freddie Mercury is figuratively thrown under the tour bus in the new biographical film about the legendary band Queen in Bohemian Rhapsody, but ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Streisand, GLAAD book, Spice Girls, Boy Erased, Rhapsody 2018-11-06 - Barbra Streisand has released an LGBTQ anthem that doubles as a statement against President Trump, reported. The legendary singer's latest album, Walls, ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.