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A STAR IS BORN (1954) - A History of the American Musical + Short Film

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97% fresh on Rottentomatoes!

"In this incandescent performance, [Judy Garland] seems to be playing on her nerves: she cannot but strike at ours."- Sight and Sound


The second (and probably most acclaimed) of four adaptations of the classic musical melodrama, recently updated by Bradley Cooper in 2018, George Cukor’s (The Women, My Fair Lady, A Philadelphia Story) epic 1954 version of A Star is Born features an Oscar nominated Judy Garland and James Mason as the lovers on opposing ends of fame, and is widely considered one of the greatest musicals of all time.

Meeting inebriated former matinee idol Norman Maine (Mason) on stage, talented aspiring singer Esther (an effervescent Garland) saves him from a potentially embarrassing incident. Grateful, he asks her out to dinner and, impressed by her talent, aims to help her succeed. Losing touch and facing obstacles, it’s a while before he is able to do so, but when he does her career flourishes – leading her (renamed ‘Vicki Lester’) to international glory while his star, conversely, remains on the wane.

Generating an entire world within its generous running time, Cukor’s version boasts superb songs by Harold Arlen and George Gershwin including the sublime and devastating The Man Who Got Away and a truly extraordinary performance from Garland. Intended as her comeback role, four years after the suspension of her MGM contract following a suicide attempt, she seems to identify with both Esther’s dreams and Norman’s downfall in her raw, intense and thrillingly vulnerable turn.

Starting October 2019, Deptford Cinema joins in the BFI's nationwide three-month celebration of the musical film genre with our own special and spectacular season! From the 'Golden Era' of fabulous foot-tapping ruled by the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers double act, right through to more provocative takes like Bob Fosse's Cabaret, lesser-seen milestones such as the all-black cast of Cabin in the Sky, and on to the 21st Century smashes like La La Land, we will pick you and sweep you right through nine decades of Hollywood's musical history in eight screenings! Expect short films and programme notes at all screenings, and even some special guest speakers!

  • dir. George Cukor

  • 1954

  • 181 min

  • Rating 18+ - please note given we are playing unrated short films in this season, we are required to make all of our screenings 18 or over.

£6.00 (£4.50 conc.)

Doors 6.30PM

Film 7.00PM

Screening as part of BFI Musicals! The Greatest Show on Screen, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery, BFI Film Audience Network and ICO.    bfimusicals.co.uk

Screening as part of BFI Musicals! The Greatest Show on Screen, a UK-wide film season supported by National Lottery, BFI Film Audience Network and ICO. bfimusicals.co.uk

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