“A Star Is Born” (1937)

Directed by William A. Wellman
Selznick International Pictures
US, 111 minutes
Starring Janet Gaynor, Frederic March, Adolphe Menjou

I recently picked up the BluRay of the 1954 George Cukor remake, so in preparation for finally getting to see that film, I decided to watch the original 1937 version. The film is, unfortunately, in the public domain which means that it is all over the internet and can be viewed, in full, on YouTube. Here is the version I watched:

It is a wonderful film that I recommended watching. Gaynor is wonderful and March is powerful. Wellman is also a fine director, moving the camera and using effects that seemed years ahead of its time. Sure, parts of the film are hockey – I really could have done without the grandmother – but the overall product is very good.

The film was nominated for Best Picture, Director, Actor and Actress, but only won for Best Screenplay. That is well deserved, because this is a wonderful story.

It’s a shame that the film is not connected with any of the major studios so that it could be given a proper release. There’s no reason why Warner couldn’t take the extra step to include it with the ’54 version since anyone can release anything in the public domain.

Now, if I could just find a way to see What Price Hollywood? I’ll be happy.

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