Julie Andrews’ portrayal of the late, great musicomedy idol, Gertrude Lawrence, occasionally sags between musical numbers but the cast and team of redoubtable technical contributors have helped to turn out a pleasing tribute to one of the theatre’s most admired stars.
It gives a fascinating coverage of Lawrence’s spectacular rise to showbiz fame, and also a neatly observed background of an epoch now gone.
The film has, as its framework, the star sitting in with a TV producer watching a supposed black-and-white 1940 documentary of her career.
It’s a tricky but meaty role, but even those intimate with Lawrence’s work and personality will quickly settle for accepting, in Andrews’ carefully built-up performance, the illusion that they’re watching Lawrence. Andrews, however, tends to overdo the cockney hoydenishness in the early stages.
Humor is more witty than boisterously funny, while the 16 musical numbers are staged in polished fashion [by Michael Kidd].
1968: Nominations: Best Supp. Actor (Daniel Massey), Cinematography, Costume Design, Art Direction, Adapted Musical Score, Song (‘Star!’), Sound