Tuesday, June 1, 2010

TODAY'S NUGGET: "A Star is Born" Times Four

When I heard that the movie "A Star is Born" may be remade for the fourth time, I wondered why it is continually remade approx. every 20 years (1937, 1954, 1976)?

What is the fascination with this tale of a rising star and destruction of another falling star?

Hmmm.  I knew I must investigate.

So over the weekend, I watched the 1976 Barbara Streisand and 1954 Judy Garland versions. 

(I would've watched the 1937 version, but don't have access to a VHS right now.  This is another reason I will never throw away my VHS at home. The end.)

Here's three things I saw & my hopes for the 2011 (2012? 2013?) version:

- Every 20 yrs., there is a new "Esther Blodgett" who epitomizes that decade.  Judy Garland was right for 1954.  She was a career woman who shone as a movie musical star. Streisand was a more woman's lib Esther who toured as a headliner. 

The new Esther won't be hemmed in as a paid player in the studio system (Garland), or have to prove she can headline (Streisand). 

Today's Esther is an independent contractor who absolutely headlines her own tour.  I'd be curious to see how she handles actually have too many choices. She might have fewer excuses, more demands, less privacy, more invasive press. 

- In both versions, it's Esther vs. her husband in a universal conflict of her success vs. his success. Only one can win.

I liked that both versions didn't try to dilute how tough that dynamic is. 

Judy Garland especially has a powerful scenes where she explains she's at the edge and can't take it any more as she watches her husband slowly destroy himself day after day.

- I think this movie is about 1) pride, and 2) functioning in the glare of fame.  Today's Esther will have to face a different world than Judy or Barbara. 

There is less respect for privacy, and much more public pressure & discussion of "what a star should do" on talk shows & magazine covers.  Whether or not successful stars want to admit it, it's hard to not be influenced by people's opinion of your spouse. 

I'd like to see a new demon coming from within Esther rather than from the outside.  How does she deal with her own feelings of disappointment?

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: The story is timeless because there can only be one "head of household." 

The question is: Can we agree who that breadwinner is?

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