A Star Is Born

1976

Drama / Music / Romance

30
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 9,802

Synopsis


Downloaded times
December 12, 2020

Director

Cast

Barbra Streisand as Rose Morgan
Gary Busey as Bobby Ritchie
Kris Kristofferson as John Norman Howard
Robert Englund as Mayor Buckman
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.26 GB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
139 min
P/S N/A / N/A
2.58 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
139 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by EUyeshima 7 / 10 / 10

The Ultimate Wallow for Barbra-philes...Watch Closely Now as the New DVD Has Solid Extras

Thirty years after its initial release, the third version of "A Star Is Born" finally comes to DVD in a package that should please the most devoted fans of Barbra Streisand. That would include me since I just saw her in concert singing among other numbers, the feminist anthem "Woman in the Moon" from this 1976 film. Easy to dismiss, the movie's career-polarizing story is such a sturdy pile of Hollywood-style clichés that variations of it exist in other films including Streisand's own "Funny Girl". This time reset to the then-contemporary music scene, the timeworn plot follows self-destructive rock star John Norman Howard on his deep-dive career descent just as he meets club singer Esther Hoffman who is awaiting her big break. Troubles dog their courtship from the outset, as John Norman (both names please) responds to grasping fans and bloodless DJs with random acts of violence (from which he inexplicably escapes prosecution). To John Norman, Esther represents his last shot at happiness, and in turn, she is drawn to the innately decent, creative musician underneath the façade. In the movie's most pivotal scene, he gives Esther her big break at a benefit concert, and her career takes off. Inevitably, he can't handle the failure of his career in light of her meteoric success, and if you are familiar with any version of this story, you know the rest. Directed by Frank Pierson (although Streisand's budding directorial talents are obviously on display), the film still manages to draw me in, even though I know it is shamelessly contrived and manipulative. It still has a certain emotional resonance despite its numerous flaws. Although Streisand in her prime seems like the ideal choice to play a rising singing star, her screen persona is simply too strong and predefined to play Esther credibly. The same can be said for her performing style since the script seems to make allowances for her softer Adult Contemporary-oriented material to be accepted within the otherwise hardened world of arena rock. From the moment she pops her head up as the middle of the Oreos, she can't help but come across as an established star. I can forgive the lapse simply because she is an unparalleled vocal talent, but what becomes less forgiving is how she makes Esther more strident than poignant when John Norman's woes become overwhelming. This creates an oddly discomfiting dynamic in the last part of the film when it becomes less about what caused the climactic event than Esther's response to it. This is capped off by an uninterrupted eight-minute close-up of her memorial performance - great except when she regrettably mimics John Norman's style toward the end. Kristofferson, on the other hand, gives a superb performance throughout, managing a level of honesty that grounds the film and makes palpable his concurrent feelings of love, pride and resentment toward Esther. He makes his vodka-soaked onstage growling work within this context. Otherwise, what always strikes me as strange about this version is how all the supporting characters are relegated to the background as if they didn't exist unless they were interacting with the two principals. The only ones who register are Paul Mazursky as John Norman's level-headed manager Brian and Gary Busey as his cynical band manager Bobbie. Veteran cameraman Robert Surtees provides a nice burnish to the cinematography though a level of graininess persists in the print. A big seller in its day, the soundtrack is a hodgepodge of different styles from the 1970's - some songs still quite good ("Everything", "Woman in the Moon", "Watch Closely Now"), some that have moved to kitsch ("Queen Bee", Kenny Loggins' "I Believe in Love") and of course, the inescapable "Evergreen". The print transfer on the 2006 DVD is clean and the sound gratefully crisp thanks to digital remastering. Streisand's participation is the chief lure of the extras beginning with her feature-length commentary. She gives insightful information about the genesis of the film, the casting and the reportedly troubled production. She is also refreshingly candid about the megalomania of Jon Peters, her hairdresser boyfriend who became the movie's producer, and her dissatisfaction with Pierson as a director. I just wish she could have provided more scene-specific comments that directly relate to what is on screen. She also tends to repeat the same anecdotes when the mood strikes her, e.g., it gets tiring to hear for the third time how the person playing the chauffeur was a friend of Peters. I think having a second commentator could have drawn out other nuggets from her. There is a wardrobe test reel that shows some amusing 1970's clothes, especially Kristofferson's mixed-fabric poncho and orange polyester shirt. There are also twelve deleted scenes included with Streisand's optional commentary. One is a comic bread-baking scene which reminded me how much I like Streisand in farcical comedies. Another is an extended scene in which she plays "Evergreen" on the guitar in front of an awestruck Kristofferson who then falls asleep. The most interesting is an alternate take on the musical finale incorporating fast cuts, which I agree with Streisand should have been used. Fittingly, the theatrical trailers for all three versions of "A Star Is Born" are also included.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 2 / 10 / 10

An Enduring Tale

Transferred from the world of Hollywood to the world of rock music, this latest version of A Star Is Born lacks the glamor of the other two, mainly because the field is a less glamorous one. Nevertheless the role of Esther has attracted only the best of players, from Janet Gaynor to Judy Garland and now Barbra Streisand. That's a hat trick hard to beat in any field. In the other two versions, Fredric March and then James Mason, are a pair of self destructive drunks who when we meet them are on the downward side of their careers and have only one ennobling virtue, their love for Gaynor/Garland. Kris Kristofferson however is a multi-substance abuser and because we're talking about the rock scene has the groupies attached to him. Unlike in the other two versions, Streisand catches him with one and the whole thing about the pure love loses its potency because of it. However the incident does set him up for his final moment of self destruction. All the supporting characters from the other two versions are completely eliminated. Gary Busey has a nice role as Kristofferson's music arranger who fulfills many of the functions that eliminated characters from the other versions have. The rest of the film's supporting parts are very undefined which makes this version weaker than the others. But for those who are interested in hearing Barbra sing, A Star Is Born will more than satisfy you. The film got an Oscar for the song Evergreen which Kristofferson and Streisand duet and it became one of her best selling records. Judy Garland was similarly served in her version with The Man That Got Away although that song was nominated and did not win. A Star Is Born is an enduring tale and I don't think we've seen the last of it. May the next group of players do the story as much justice as the three pairs of co-stars I've cited.

Reviewed by majikstl 2 / 10 / 10

Musical miscarriage ...

To grasp where this 1976 version of A STAR IS BORN is coming from consider this: Its final number is sung by Barbra Streisand in a seven minute and forty second close-up, followed by another two-and-half-minute freeze frame of Ms. Streisand -- striking a Christ-like pose -- behind the closing credits. Over ten uninterrupted minutes of Barbra's distinctive visage dead center, filling the big screen with uncompromising ego. That just might be some sort of cinematic record. Or think about this: The plot of this musical revolves around a love affair between two musical superstars, yet, while Streisand's songs are performed in their entirety -- including the interminable finale -- her costar Kris Kristofferson isn't allowed to complete even one single song he performs. Nor, though she does allow him to contribute a little back up to a couple of her ditties, do they actually sing a duet. Or consider this: Streisand's name appears in the credits at least six times, including taking credit for "musical concepts" and her wardrobe (from her closet) -- and she also allegedly wanted, but failed to get co-directing credit as well. One of her credits was as executive producer, with a producer credit going to her then-boyfriend and former hairdresser, Jon Peters. As such, Streisand controlled the final cut of the film, which explains why it is so obsessed with skewing the film in her direction. What it doesn't explain is how come, given every opportunity to make The Great Diva look good, their efforts only make Streisand look bad. Even though this was one of Streisand's greatest box office hits, it is arguably her worst film and contains her worst performance. Anyway, moving the melodrama from Hollywood to the world of sex-drugs-and-rock'n'roll, Streisand plays Esther Hoffman, a pop singer on the road to stardom, who shares the fast lane for a while with Kristofferson's John Norman Howard, a hard rocker heading for the off ramp to Has-beenville. In the previous incarnations of the story, "Norman Maine" sacrifices his leading man career to help newcomer "Vicky Lester" achieve her success. In the feminist seventies, Streisand & Co. want to make it clear that their heroine owes nothing to a man, so the trajectory is skewed; she'll succeed with or without him and he is pretty much near bottom from scene one; he's a burden she must endure in the name of love. As such, there is an obvious effort to make the leading lady not just tougher, but almost ruthless, while her paramour comes off as a henpecked twit. Kristofferson schleps through the film with a credible indifference to the material; making little attempt to give much of a performance, and oddly it serves his aimless, listless character well. Streisand, on the other hand, exhibits not one moment of honesty in her entire time on screen. Everything she does seems, if not too rehearsed, at least too controlled. Even her apparent ad libs seem awkwardly premeditated and her moments of supposed hysteria coldly mechanical. The two have no chemistry, making the central love affair totally unbelievable. You might presume that his character sees in her a symbol of his fading youth and innocence, though at age 34, Streisand doesn't seem particularly young or naive. The only conceivable attraction he might offer to her is that she can exploit him as a faster route to stardom. And, indeed, had the film had the guts to actually play the material that way, to make Streisand's character openly play an exploitive villain, the film might have had a spark and maybe a reason to exist. But I guess the filmmakers actually see Esther as a sympathetic victim; they don't seem to be aware just how cold-blooded and self absorbed she is. But sensitivity is not one of the film's strong points: note the petty joke of giving Barbra two African American back up singers just so the film can indulge in the lame racism of calling the trio The Oreos. And the film makes a big deal of pointing out that Esther retains her ethnic identity by using her given name of Hoffman, yet the filmmakers have changed the character's name of the previous films from "Esther Blodgett" so that Streisand won't be burdened with a name that is too Jewish or too unattractive. So much for ethnic pride. The backstage back stabbing and backbiting that proceeded the film's release is near legendary, so the fact that the film ended up looking so polished is remarkable. Nominal director Frank Pierson seems to have delivered the raw material for a good movie, with considerable help from ace cinematographer Robert Surtees. And the film did serve its purpose, producing a soundtrack album of decent pop tunes (including the Oscar-winning "Evergreen" by Paul Williams and Streisand). But overall the film turned out to be the one thing Streisand reportedly claimed she didn't want it to be, a vanity project.

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