4 Stars

I was at a screening yesterday of the new Star is Born, and overheard an excited cinephile explaining to a friend, that this is not only a re-make, but the fourth version of the film – after the 1937 Technicolor Selznick, which went to WB, allowing for the 1954 and 1976.

While I thought “not so fast there…,” I remained silent.

But for those who revel in such things, pleased be aware that the newest variant, is actually the third re-make.

While my personal favorite remains George Cukor’s 1954 classic, there was an earlier version, that hit theaters a dozen years before.

It was an RKO production by a less experienced, but still wonderful director, who would go on to helm Little Women (1933), Dinner at Eight (1933), and Camille (1936).

What Price Hollywood featured Constance Bennett and Lowell Sherman as actors with careers going into different directions. It was photographed by the great Charles Rosher.

At a compact 88 minutes, it has been quietly available via Warner Archive, and should be essential screening for anyone heading to a theater to see the newest incarnation starring Lady and Brad.

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Robert Harris

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Robert Harris

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Of course, the second Selznick. That’s what you get for posting quickly.

Brain had calculated five films total, fingers went for four.

The original came from the same RKO Selznick era, that gave us that big ape picture.
 
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ahollis

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Yes. All week I have been saying this is the 5th version. When I explain about What Price Hollywood I get two responses.

1. Well is not the same name so it doesn’t count.

2. Do you have a copy? I want to see it.

I respond, yes I have a copy. Movie night next week.

Teaching the millennials one at a time.
 

Thomas T

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Saw the 2018 A Star Is Born today and loved it. It moves into the second slot behind the 1954 film (still the definitive ASIB) and before the 1937, 1932 and 1976 (which I detested) versions. Liked all of them on some level except as noted the heinous 1976 version (and I'm a huge Streisand fan).
 

rsmithjr

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Thanks for the review, heading to see it as soon as I can. Three plays already scheduled for this weekend.

A note about ASIB 1976: I didn't like it much in original release, possibly in part because I couldn't get to a 70mm showing, but the Blu-ray issued a few years ago sold me on its value. No, not better than the 1954 version--one of my favorite films of all time--but an acceptable remake. It also appears that the 1976 version provides much of the framework for the new 2018 version.

Take a look at the 1976 version on Blu-ray if you can.
 

john a hunter

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Wasn't the 1976 version one of the first if not the first to use Dolby NR with 70 prints?
I saw it in 70 and hated it, save as Robert mentions, that song.
 

JohnMor

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Will the acting improve? The script get any better or forgettable songs more listenable? I saw it in 70 millimeter in 1976!
Script is awful. Direction is pedestrian. Streisand is excellent, but Kristofferson is terrible. As is most of the supporting cast. Many scenes don’t work and don’t feel natural. But one is as good as anything in any version: the scene where Esther is taken out to John’s body at the wreck site is very moving and beautifully played by Streisand.

But the score is terrific; much more than just “Evergreen.”
 
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Lord Dalek

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Wasn't the 1976 version one of the first if not the first to use Dolby NR with 70 prints?
I saw it in 70 and hated it, save as Robert mentions, that song.
Yeah it was the second one. Logan's Run beat it out by several months. Neither of those films had LFE though. That wasn't introduced until Star Wars and CE3k the following year.

Lisztomania was the first Dolby Stereo movie in general.
 
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Thomas T

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I stand to be corrected but with all the references to the 1976 A Star Is Born in 70 millimeter, it wasn't actually filmed in 70 millimeter but filmed in the 1.85 aspect ratio and blown up to 70 millimeter for first run engagements in major cities.
 

Mark Booth

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I only saw the 1976 version once and don't remember thinking a whole lot of it. I absolutely LOVE the 2018 version. I think it has a strong chance to take home the Best Picture Oscar. And Gaga is almost certain to get nominated for Best Actress. Ditto for Cooper for Best Actor and Best Director.

I've never seen the 1937 or 1954 versions. Not sure I want to after enjoying the 2018 one so much.

Mark
 

Robert Crawford

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I only saw the 1976 version once and don't remember thinking a whole lot of it. I absolutely LOVE the 2018 version. I think it has a strong chance to take home the Best Picture Oscar. And Gaga is almost certain to get nominated for Best Actress. Ditto for Cooper for Best Actor and Best Director.

I've never seen the 1937 or 1954 versions. Not sure I want to after enjoying the 2018 one so much.

Mark
You can enjoy all three films as each film is well worth one viewing. As to the 1976 version, it has its fans, but I'm not one of them.