A Star is Born (1954)
Director: George Cukor
Remakes are not a new phenomenon for Hollywood (though the number of them seems to be!). Cukor's film was adapted from the script of Wellman's 1937 film. While keeps the bare bones of the story, and the names of the characters, it focuses less on the politics of the film business, and more on the character of Esther, and her relationship with Norman.
How Judy Garland didn't win the Oscar for Best Actress for her performance in this film, I don't know. We always knew she had an amazing voice, and was solid as an actress, but in Cukor's film she marries these two things beautifully together, and ends up acting James Mason off the screen at some moments. While Janet Gaynor's Esther/ Vicki was likeable, I never felt we really saw a complete demonstration of her often praised acting talents. With Garland, the scene of her singing at the club after-hours showcases her immense talent, and the audience, like Norman, want to see her receive wider recognition. She is also wonderful in the dramatic scenes at the film's end, her pain and grief feels very real.
I enjoyed the film, and felt its similarities to two other films I watched recently: Funny Girl and Coal Miner's Daughter. All three focus on the ascent of incredibly talented women (who can sing), and the effect it has on their relationships with their husbands. I am surprised we haven't seen a newer riff on this story, considering Hollywood's love of recycling.