The Rory Gilmore Book Club discussion

Music, Movies, & Miscellany > March Movie Night--A Star is Born (1954)

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message 1: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Feb 29, 2008 05:33PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
I thought I would kick off our first monthly movie viewing. Rather than a live chat (where we might miss large parts of the movie)...I thought I'd just post the selection, and we could watch and post on our own time.

For March, let's do A Star is Born with Judy Garland. Let's set the discussion to begin March 10th. Of course, the discussion will remain here indefinetely, so don't worry about not being able to get the movie, or GET TO the movie quickly. Any questions? I'm keeping this casual (you can even wear your pajamas). :)

Here's a bit on the film...

"A Star Is Born is a 1954 musical remake of the original 1937 film, directed by George Cukor and starring Judy Garland and James Mason.

In 2000, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

In 2006, this film ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's list of best musicals. The song The Man That Got Away was ranked number 11 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs list. The movie ranked #43 on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions list in 2002."

The movie was re-made once again in 1976 with Barbara Streisand/Kris Kristofferson.

message 2: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Thanks Alison!

message 3: by Courtney (new)

Courtney Stirrat | 201 comments Brilliant selection, Alison!

Another fun fact about "A Star is Born" is that the initial 1937 script was loosely based on Barbara Stanwyck's relationship with her first husband Frank Fay, the Broadway and vaudeville star. Upon reading the script, the studio head (I cannot remember whom) was afraid it too closely resembled the Fay/Stanwyck relationship and would make the studio liable for a liable suit. So they rewrote the script to make it less like Fay/Stanwyck relationship.

message 4: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Thanks, Courney. I guess today, that would make the script more sellable, as celebrities are robbed of any privacy these days.

message 5: by Angie (new)

Angie | 512 comments Is this available on DVD?

message 6: by Meghan (new)

Meghan It should be. Lorelai Netflix it, so I would say you should be able to pick up at your local movie rental store. I do have to say though, my Best Buy only had the Barbara Streisan version, so you may have to order it online if you want to buy it.

message 7: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) So here's my dilemma... I don't rent movies. I hate Blockbuster with a big ol' passion and I don't think I'd rent enough to make the monthly payment of Netflix worth it. And this movie isn't coming up on TCM or AMC any time soon.

So do I buy this?

message 8: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany If you like classic movies then I would say go for it. We don't rent movies either - we don't have Netflix and our video store just closed. I would like to buy the movie, but I'm not sure where to even look for it. Any suggestions?

message 9: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I know B& has it. They usually carry a lot of classics in their stores too. I'm sure you can get it from Amazon too. Otherwise I think Best Buy has a pretty decent classics section so it's possible the one near you would carry more than the one near Meghan. If I buy it I'm going to order it from B&

message 10: by Arctic (new)

Arctic | 571 comments Netflix sent mine today.

message 11: by Angie (new)

Angie | 512 comments I found a copy, can't wait to watch!

message 12: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Mar 04, 2008 08:30AM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
I'm so excited that you all are excited about this. I've got to Netflix it, or you guys are going to get all of their copies. :(

FYI, I checked the Netflix plan, and you can get one movie a month for $4.99, or one movie at a time, unlimited monthly rentals for $8.99/month. Just in case anyone's interested.

message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) The thing is I don't like paying if I'm not getting a movie that month. (Like how I pay for a gym I don't use, heh.) If it was a pay-as-you-go system I'd totally do it. Otherwise I just get things On Demand from Comcast.

message 14: by Erica (new)

Erica Poole | 199 comments I do the same Sarah, I actually got their free trial, got a bunch of movies at home, watched one, another was scratched up and unable to be viewed, and I didn't feel like watching the rest for weeks. So I quit the trial before I had to pay for it! I want to watch my movie when I want to. I can't pre-order them or even wait a few days. I am spoiled, I know.

Anyway, LOVE the idea of a group viewing and discussing a movie. Especially since this is 1) a movie I have NEVER seen and 2) something I think I would like to see!

I have also decided that I might create a project in which I watch every movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture, in order! We shall see if I stick with it! Wish me luck!

message 15: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Mar 04, 2008 11:03AM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Good luck, Erica!

message 16: by Cathy Berry (new)

Cathy Berry (berrygirl55) | 6 comments Does your public library have DVDs? You might be able to find it there for free.

message 17: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Erica... wow! In order! I've seen nearly all of them. I think I have like eight of them left to see (not including this year's), and oddly two of them are from within the last 10 years!

My favorite era by far for movies is the 1940's. But then, I like most everything 1940's, so that's not a big stretch I suppose. Still, they put out really amazing films during that time - all of the top films were outstanding... and then some!

The 1930's before the "morality" restrictions could be pretty racy and saucy, though!

Oh, but as for our topic... I could have sworn I recorded A Star is Born from TMC a while back, but I don't see it on my list. I'm like Sarah - unless it is on cable or ondemand, I don't really have access to it. Because I'm lazy. And because right now I don't see a need for Netflix. But I do really want to watch this with you all so I may make an effort.

message 18: by Carly (new)

Carly (carlyatkins) Don't forget to try your local library if you are having a hard time finding this movie.

message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Carly, I don't think I'm allowed to have a library card! In my younger years I was not so much with the returning.

message 20: by Robbie (last edited Mar 06, 2008 11:14AM) (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Hee-hee, Sarah. I was okay with returning as a child, but not so organized now.

My copy of ASIB just shipped from Netflix! Is this something my 6 [nearly 7] yr-old daughter might like? She'll probably be interested to know it's the girl that played Dorothy, because she loves the Wizard of Oz.

message 21: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I think it's kind of dramatic, but I've never seen it.

message 22: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Robbie - brief plotline from

A movie star helps a young singer/actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

So there are some adult themes but as this was made in the 50s, nothing risque I would assume.

message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) ACK! Spoilers!

message 24: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Sorry. Didn't really read the whole thing. Deleted it.

message 25: by Jamie (last edited Mar 07, 2008 08:24AM) (new)

Jamie I got a copy of ASIB on VHS from our public library (I couldn't find the right version at I've always meant to watch it, but just never did. I'm looking forward to chatting with you about it!

message 26: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Yeah, I read the plot on wikipedia. Sounds like it might be something that would make her cry. She prefers happy endings. So, it will be a post-bedtime watch. Thanks for the tips, everybody!

message 27: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Just watched it last night. Looking forward to discussion.

message 28: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
I thought I'd report in, although I'm not finished. I watched about 90% of it, then I had to go to bed. This is a long one!

This is very interesting...not what I was expecting at all. I keep staring at Judy Garland. She looks like somebody else here...Hillary Swank? Hillary Swank could totally play her in a biopic. Also the other guy, James Mason...don't know if anyone's seen "The Verdict", but he's in it. He has an unforgettable voice.

message 29: by Arctic (new)

Arctic | 571 comments I can't believe Garland is Liza Minnelli's mother. She's the spitting image in some ways, but I never thought about it. Swank would be a good choice though, I agree.

The movie *is* long. I kept wondering when it would end, honestly. I think I had the special edition too, which may have made it longer. They had inserted parts that I guess had been cut from the movie and which they'd lost film for. The inserts were just photos put to the still-intact soundtrack. It was interesting to watch. Seems like a pretty important part of the film too (Mason gets sent to rehab and Garland's star almost isn't born at all), judging from how things turn out later on.

message 30: by Meghan (new)

Meghan Heather - I know! I think that's one of the most bizarre mother-daughter couples in Hollywood.

message 31: by Robbie (new)

Robbie Bashore | 592 comments Heather--I had the movie with the stills, too. That was kind of strange.

I found myself thinking of Liza, too. I could definitely appreciate how much their voices sound alike--at least when they were speaking.

I wonder what it was like for Judy to doing all those scenes where they were talking about her looks being so unacceptable, given her real-life insecurities about her looks.

I thought the movie was long, too. Having read the synopsis, I was real frustrated by how long they took portraying (oh my gosh, forgot his name already) they prelude to his suicide. At the same time, it seemed like other stuff was missing. Examples of his acting skills slipping, more of their relationship...

message 32: by Angie (new)

Angie | 512 comments I think the DVD version is the one with the stills, though I guess they were trying to get people to see how the film was before it was edited for theaters. The movie was too long 3 hours almost! And I really hated how they got rid of the character Norman Maine. I just felt it was unnecessary to the story, sometimes I wonder if stories kill off characters like that to make it more dramatic. I am curious now to see the 1976 version. I did like the music too!

message 33: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Mar 12, 2008 09:57AM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod

Oh! Now I realize why the stills were in there. Thank you. I thought they were just trying to be artsy. They really unnerved me. I wanted to see people moving!

Judy Garland was really flamboyant in this movie. I'm not sure if that's the right word, but, very exaggerated with her expressions and very dramatic. I never picked up on it before, like, in the Wizard of Oz. But it really felt like watching a child actor grown up this time around.

This was not your typical movie musical, was it? Very dark and mature. Memorable scenes to me: "The Man that Got Away" scene; the Oscar acceptance speech (sad!); the scene where he proposes and they play it back to them over the speakers; the part where she's dancing at their house showing Norman the new "number" from her movie.

message 34: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie (The Book Mongers) | 3 comments This movie was the longest movie I've ever watched in my life. OK not quite, but it felt like it. I'm not sure if its one I want to watch again though. I was way sad and depressed the entire movie, but it does have memorable tunes. Example "The Man That Got Away" which is my favorite from the entire movie. And of course Garland's voice is timeless which makes the song even better.

That's funny you should mention that Hilary Swank could play Garland because in the movie "P.S. I love you" Swank sings along with the man that got away scene.

message 35: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Cool, Bonnie. Yeah, it was long.

message 36: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Okay, how annoying is this? I was frantically running around trying to find this one headband for my blind date (I seriously had like 15 minutes notice before I had to leave) when I came across the DVD recording I'd made of this movie! So I can finally watch it... but a bit late obviously. Glad I found it, but ERGH!!!

message 37: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Oh no you don't. You don't say you had a blind date and then not give us any details.

message 38: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Mar 16, 2008 02:47PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
There was some talk of My Fair Lady for April's movie's not on this list...

Is it on any of the other lists?

In the same vein (Pygmalion-esque stories)...there's Funny Girl and, of course, Grease. Also there was Love Story. These are more love stories from different classes or social groups. Please discuss. (Haha. I love saying that.)

P.S. A Star is Born is still up for discussion. I have ten minutes to go, and I've lost the d*mn thing. I kid you not.

message 39: by Angie (new)

Angie | 512 comments Funny Girl sounds great for April? I haven't seen it before and have been wanting to see it.

message 40: by Jamie (new)

Jamie I finally finished ASIB last night. It definitely wasn't one of my favorites, and I usually love musicals. I've never been a huge fan of Judy Garland, though - I've tried to like her, but I just can't. (She grew up near here, so it kind of feels like our duty to love her!) I enjoyed some of the muscial numbers, but the story was predictable and I didn't feel any chemistry between Judy and James. I agree with Robbie - the similarities between Judy and Liza are very apparent in this movie. They look and sound so alike that it was a bit distracting for me at times.

message 41: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Mar 20, 2008 07:39PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Anyone else with feedback re: April movie night? There's been some Kurosawa discussion...maybe May?

Unrelated, but check this out, too...

message 42: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Mar 22, 2008 12:52AM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
You could watch the classic film A Tree Grows in Brooklyn... just a thought. Not sure if it specifically fits your Gilmore movie theme, though.

message 43: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Mar 22, 2008 12:52AM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Okay, I'm sorry, but there is NO WAY ON EARTH that the Gilmore Girls I know and love referenced Snakes on a Plane - unless in complete mocking and derisive terms!!!

message 44: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Sarah: ...I was not so much with the returning. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That was really funny!

message 45: by Shannon, the founder of fun (back from sabbatical) (new)

Shannon | 254 comments Mod
ok I'm now in the middle of watching the film and the stills are so weird. I've never seen that done before.

message 46: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Mar 22, 2008 05:30PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Shannon, I know...the stills made me uncomfortable.

I tried to get "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" from netflix...I don't think it's available on dvd...or at least not via netflix. Does anyone have any info? I know there are still a lot of old movies that are yet to be released on DVD.

message 47: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I think someone mentioned Funny Girl... I saw it for sale at Target for $10.

message 48: by carol (new)

carol (lady_lazarus) | 2 comments this movie is sooooooo long. i know this is a superficial note but it just the way i feel about it. I'm not THAT fan of Judy Garland (even the stuff she made with my beloved Minnelli seems a little uninspired to me), in the end. But "The man that got away" is WONDERFUL.

I'm new here, I'm still trying to figure it out everything, but I would love to discuss CLASSIC MOVIES with gilmore-fans.

message 49: by Alison, the guru of grace (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Well, Carol...there will be a movie selection for April.."Funny Girl" (Barbara Streisand, Omar Shariff) has garnered the most requests at this point. It will most likely be the one discussed in this folder starting April 10.

April's book selections are The Picture of Dorian Gray and Pygmalion, and they'll be discussed in the "monthly book discussion" folder with Dorian Gray starting April 1. All of the other folders are misc. Gilmore talk, and just talk in general. :)

We are also voting for May's selection in the nomination & voting folder. Jump in there and vote, if you haven't. I'm also excited to say that we'll be discussing one lONG book over the summer months, and we'll likely start voting for it soon. And welcome!

message 50: by Shannon, the founder of fun (back from sabbatical) (new)

Shannon | 254 comments Mod
Ok didn't like this one so much. I liked the beginning and the rendition of the man that got away was superb.

I recently watched Funny Girl and overall liked it, but it does have a similar story - girl becoming star. Funny Girl is much more enjoyable than this one for sure though.

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