Review: ‘A Star Is Born’

The new A Star Is Born has the rare distinction of being a superlative remake. Barbra Streisand's performance as the rising star is her finest screen work to date, while Kris Kristofferson's magnificent portrayal of her failing benefactor realizes all the promise first shown five years earlier in Cisko Pike.

The new A Star Is Born has the rare distinction of being a superlative remake. Barbra Streisand’s performance as the rising star is her finest screen work to date, while Kris Kristofferson’s magnificent portrayal of her failing benefactor realizes all the promise first shown five years earlier in Cisko Pike.

Film rightfully credits the original William Wellman-Robert Carson story on which David O. Selznick mounted his 1937 version, the first to use this title. All the familiar plot turns are here, but updated to the spirit of the times.

Plot picks up Kristofferson past his rock superstar prime, unable or unwilling to make his tour commitments, raising hell and alienating people. His success has become a machine, supervised by Paul Mazursky (as a smooth rock music manager), kept in line by Gary Busey, and attended to by Sally Kirkland, Joanne Linville and others who typify the coterie that comes with fame.

Barbra Streisand is discovered in a tacky nitery, singing with Vanetta Fields and Clydie King. There’s a lot of music in the film, mostly by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher, and it’s important to note that, while the material is better than the rest, in the context of the story it should be that way.

1976: Best Song (‘Evergreen’).

Nominations: Best Cinematography, Adapted Score, Sound

A Star Is Born

Production

Warner. Director Frank Pierson; Producer Jon Peters; Screenplay John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion, Frank Pierson; Camera Robert Surtees; Editor Peter Zinner; Art Director Polly Platt

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1976. Running time: 140 MIN.

With

Barbra Streisand Kris Kristofferson Paul Mazursky Gary Busey Oliver Clark Vanetta Fields
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