Friday, September 29, 2017

Four stars are born

TCM is running all three or four versions of A Star Is Born tonight in prime time. Whether you consider it three or four depends on what you think of What Price Hollywood?, which concludes the night at 3:45 AM. At any rate, I made it a point to watch the 1976 version of A Star Is Born (1:15 AM) off my DVR since it's on tonight.

Barbra Streisand plays the woman who's going to become a star. Here, she's not an actress, but a singer. And the movie starts off with her already in Los Angeles, not abandoning a family farm and granny (118-year-old May Robson was not available; the Andy Devine character seems written out too). Kris Kristofferson plays the established star who is also an alcoholic, doing rock music and some crazy things before seeing Babs as part of a band with two black backing singers called the Oreos (really!) and immediately falling for her white afro.

Kristofferson puts Streisand on at a benefit concert, she wows the audience, and her career takes off as his goes down the tubes. But you already know the story if you've seen the other three movies. That's one of the things that makes the movie a little tougher to grade. The other thing is the fact that it's built around Barbra Streisand's singing. I don't think this movie is going to change anybody's opinion of Streisand, especially her singing. Barbra is Barbra in spades here. I would, however, say that the movie is nowhere near as bad as some of the reviews would have you believe.

A search of the TCM shop suggests that all four movies are available on either DVD or Blu-ray.

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