New From WarnerBlu: A Star Is Born, 1976 (dir. Frank R. Pierson)
When I first saw this film, I was in the middle of a marathon of all three versions, William A. Wellman’s 1937 version, George Cukor’s 1954 version and then finally this 1976 version. In comparison, this is probably the least impressive version. Something about it just doesn’t work. But, it is an interesting look at rock music and the machine and like the other two versions, is an interesting time capsule. The performances from both Streisand and Kristofferson are top notch and this new Blu-ray book is a must for fans of Babs.
The new transfer is gorgeous and Streisand herself recorded a commentary track that is filled interesting tidbits, including how she came to work on the project, as well as her love for Judy Garland’s performance in the 1954 version. She tells a story about how she almost went on a date to see it, but didn’t. She also discusses how the story itself is similar to the worlds that both she and Kristofferson came from as musical artists.
The musical performances of both Streisand and Kristofferson remain as compelling as they were when the film was first released, but with this newly remastered audio they sound much better than they did on old home video releases of the film. I particularly like Kristofferson when he does his big rock shows. He was definitely the right choice for this rock star version of Norman Maine, here called John Norman Howard.
The Blu-ray book also come with forty pages of factoids and gorgeous photographs and the disc comes with wardrobe tests (with wonderful commentary by Babs herself), deleted scenes (also with commentary) and trailers. Really, Babs’s commentary on all the special features make this release a definite must for her fans. She is too cute when she talks about the past, both about herself and her co-stars. At one point she talks about how she met Kris Kristofferson for the first time and it sound remarkably like how the two characters meet in the film.
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review disc given to me by Warner Bros., though the opinions are all my own.