You know, films with Judy Garland used to give me a more positive outlook in life because of all the cheerful musical numbers and smiles. That was until I saw A Star is Born.
No, it is not one of those Utopian musicals where everything is “Hiya, fella!” and “Good day to you!” Here I saw actual human struggles. Her husband in the film, Norman Maine, was an alcoholic, middle aged actor who discovered her and surely made her a big star because he loved her even though he allegedly “destroyed” everything he touched. They had one of those phenomenal fun marriages that I do not see very often on the screen. She even sang to him in the first night of their honeymoon and performed a musical number right in their living room later on in their marriage, which is now my all-time favorite of hers. Their romantic chemistry almost made me dream I could one day have a relationship of my own like that. Oh brain, how you jest.
It soon turned out to be a rocky marriage because of Norman’s drinking problem. The studio paid him off to get out of his acting contract. He at times envied Judy because she was at the peak of her stardom with all the spectacular musicals she was acting and singing in. I’ve been thinking of the ending of this film for days and was almost lachrymose because of it….I remember their embraces….their kisses….their mutual support and I sigh. Forever live Norman Maine and Vicki Lester.
My eyes were misty when she sang “Born in A Trunk” and “The Man That Got Away”. There is such a great multitude of sentiments in her voice that makes it most dolorous to hear.
Of course George Cukor directed this. He always directs those types of films when the emotions and sensitivities of the leading ladies are the main focus. Garbo even cried her eyes out in one of his movies!