A Star is Born (April 27, 1937)
Released April 27, 1937: (running time 1 hour and 51 minutes) The original technicolor Oscar winning motion picture blockbuster about the rising and falling fortunes of a Hollywood couple.
Produced by David O. Selznick
Directed by William A. Wellman
Written by David O. Selznick, Ben Hecht, Ring Lardner Jr., John Lee Mahin, Budd Schulberg, Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell and Robert Carson from a story by William A. Wellman and Robert Carson.
The Actors: Janet Gaynor (Esther Victoria Blodgett), Fredric March (Norman Maine), Adolphe Menjou (Oliver Niles), May Robson (Grandmother Lettie), Andy Devine (Danny McGuire), Lionel Stander (Matt Libby), Owen Moore (Casey Burke, director), Peggy Wood (Miss Phillips, Central Casting Clerk), Elizabeth Jenns (Anita Regis), Edgar Kennedy (Pop Randall, the landlord), J.C. Nugent (Mr. Blodgett), Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams (posture coach), Jean Acker (woman in the preview), Eric Alden (assistant to Oliver Niles), Irving Bacon (station attendant), Jane Barnes (waitress #1), Vince Barnett (Otto the photographer), Clara Blandick (Aunt Mattie), Wade Boteler (policeman at Santa Anita), Sidney Bracey (butler at Burke's party), Harry C. Bradley (assistant to Oliver Niles), Lynton Brent (reporter), Helene Chadwick (woman at preview), George Chandler (deliveryman), Billy Coe (bartender), Virginia Dabney (bit part), Billy Dooley (film crewman with the spray gun), Herbert Evans (bartender at Burke's home), Pat Flaherty ('Cuddles' the sanitarium guard), Francis Ford (William Gregory, the first defendant), Trixie Friganza (Mabel, waitress #2), Joe Gray (Garcia, boxer), Harrison Greene (the chubby previewer), Carlton Griffin (cameraman), Jonathan Hale (night court Judge George M. Parris), Sherry Hall (night court clerk), Chuck Hamilton (policeman outside the night courtroom), Lillian Harmer (wardrobe woman), Grace Hayle (woman in the funeral mob scene), Edward Hearn (sanitarium attendant), Robert Homans (night court baliff), Kenneth Howell (Milton Rails the second defendant), Olin Howland (Judd Baker, motorist), Arthur Hoyt (assistant makeup artist), I. Stanford Jolley (boxing ringsider), Eddie Kane (guest at Burke's party), Matty Kemp (preview reporter), Claude King (John, a guest at Burke's party), Carole Landis (girl in beret at Santa Anita bar), Myra Marsh (assistant to Olver Niles), Chris-Pin Martin (Jose Rodriguez, the final defendant), Edwin Maxwell (voice coach), Buddy Messinger (boy delivering fan mail), Willy Morris (Oliver Niles secretary), Ferdinand Munier (waiter at Burke's party), Marshall Neilan (Bert, Santa Anita clubhouse), David Newell (Sam, Santa Anita clubhouse), Robert Emmett O'Connor (bartender at the Santa Anita clubhouse), Dennis O'Keefe (guest at Burke's party), Ted Oliver (policeman number 2 at Santa Anita), Franklin Pangborn (Billy Moon the radio commentator), Harvey Parry (boxer), Bob Perry (boxing match referee), Lee Phelps (bailiff #1), Jed Prouty (Artie Carver, columnist), Tom Ricketts (Ray, Vicki's servant), Adrian Rosley (makeup artist), Kathryn Sheldon (funeral spectator), Paul Stanton (academy award presenter), A.W. Sweatt (Aleck Blodgett, Esther's brother), Margaret Tallichet (Marion, in the Santa Anita clubhouse), Fred 'Snowflake' Toones (black man on the witness stand), Leonard Walker (orchestra leader at the Hollywood Bowl), Gayne Whitman (radio announcer aat Grauman's Chinese Theater), Charles Williams (Hanley, assistant cameraman), Clarence Wilson (Justice of the Peace).
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Sunrise . . . Sunset . . .
Many motion pictures from the golden years of the 1930’s and 1940’s became public domain because the company that produced them went out of business and there was no company or person to file the required copyright renewal forms in the 28th year after the initial movie release, as required by U.S. copyright law until 1963.
David O. Selznick, who in 1939 produced Gone With The Wind, was not one to have a legal department that forgets to file the correct papers at the correct time, but incredibly four of his highest grossing and best produced films somehow never had the proper papers filed in the 28th year after production, and this is one of them. This film was awarded an Oscar for Outstanding Production, and was the first full color move to be nominated for Best Picture. This 1937 story also won an Oscar for Best Writing, and was nominated for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Assistant Director.
The story was filmed again in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason, and again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, but in my humble opinion, if you only see one version of this story . . . this is the one to watch. While Janet Gaynor, recipient of the first Academy Award for Best Actress is given top billing by the studio, the person to watch is Fredric March, who not only steals every scene, but performs possibly the greatest part in his legendary career, as we watch his descent from being a god-like star to his final humiliation and death. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Adolphe Menjou in 1937
Andy Devine and Janet Gaynor
Andy Devine and Lionel Stander
Elizabeth Jenns and Fredric March
Fredric March and Adolphe Menjou
Fredric March and Janet Gaynor
Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams
Janet Gaynor and Adolphe Menjou
Janet Gaynor and Fredric March
May Robson and Andy Devine