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A Star Is Born (1937)

Why does this story connect with people so strongly that it keeps getting remade? How well do our two leads do at bringing us into this world? And what’s going on with Granny and her deus ex machina advice? Tune in to this week’s show to get these answers and more.

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"Remember, Esther: for every dream of yours you make come true, you’ll pay the price in heartbreak."

The story is one that people connect with – a desire to follow your dreams, as crazy as they may be, and what happens when you make it. But with the rise of a new talent in each iteration of A Star Is Born, we also see the decline of another.

Perhaps it’s that emotional balance between these two journeys that makes this such a popular story to tell and retell. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off our “A Star Is Born” series right at the beginning with William A. Wellman’s 1937 film A Star Is Born.

We talk about the origins of the film and how it was really birthed in George Cukor’s 1932 film What Price Hollywood?. We look at Janet Gaynor and Fredric March as our two leads and what they bring to the table. We discuss the story issues we have with the film, notably the disappearance of our lead’s family from the story for the bulk of the film, and why it feels problematic. And we look at the technical side of the film, notably the beautiful technicolor cinematography by W. Howard Greene, as well as Max Steiner’s score (plus a song we didn’t know was part of the film apparently).

It’s a great start to our series and certainly is one that sets the stage for the tale of fame and tragedy that we’re going to be seeing over and over again. We have a great time discussing it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.

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