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A Star is Born

Screening on Film
Directed by William Wellman.
With Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou.
US, 1937, 35mm, color, 111 min.
Print source: UCLA

Glowing in the particular hues of early Technicolor, Wellman’s gimlet-eyed melodrama about the Hollywood movie colony traces the rise of Janet Gaynor’s aspiring actress to the heights of fame and fortune, while charting the obverse trajectory of her matinée idol husband, played by Fredric March. Witnessing victims of the dream factory falling left and right around him, Wellman based his story on numerous actual incidents and cast many “real life” stars whose shine had long faded. Nominated for numerous Academy Awards—including one for Gaynor’s subtle, sympathetic lead performance when, ironically, she was at the end of her career—A Star is Born became the biggest box-office hit of the year and delivered one of the most memorable closing lines in movie history. 

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