The Movie Channel last week screened the 1976 “A Star Is Born,” with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. And I was again reminded of the vague suspicion with which I view the films.
I have to confess that I couldn’t watch the whole film last week. I made it about a third of the way through and thought surely I have some laundry to do. I wonder now how I managed to sit through the film when it was released. I do remember my first thought was looking at Streisand’s hair’ and thinking it had a life of its own. Looking back, I see that Streisand’s curly mop always accompanied a hyper disposition — as if she had stuck her finger in a light socket every morning on her way to work. I don’t believe she calmed down until she did 1983’s “Yentl.”
The “star”’ films were as famous for their screen writers as they were for their cast. The 1937 version starred Janet Gaynor and Frederic March, and was based on an original screenplay by director William Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell. The 1954 version was written by Moss Hart, adapting the original screenplay, and George Cukor directed. The film was intended as a comeback for Judy Garland, who hadn’t made a film since 1950’s “Royal Wedding” with Fred Astaire. James Mason played the mentor this time and Garland landed an Oscar nomination for it, but lost to Grace Kelly for her role in “A Country Girl.”
The ’76 screenplay, was credited to director Frank Pierson, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion, and was a Seventies love story about an aging, alcoholic rock star enamored with a young singer. Bradley Cooper repeated this plot with Lady Gaga. It established Cooper as a serious director, and Gaga with acting chops.
I discovered this week that the Cinemark Movies 8 has reopened, with instructions — “For everyone’s safety, face masks are required in our theatres (spelled “re,” PCT!) except when eating & drinking in auditoriums.” No word on whether or not they’ll have “mask monitors.” (It is dark in there after all.)
I’m always scouring Netflix, Amazon Prime and whatever else will allow me, for interesting, offbeat films (Apple won’t recognize my newly changed password, even though they are happy to deduct a subscription from my Amex bill monthly).
One is a Canadian comedy with Brendan Gleeson and Taylor Kitsch, called “The Great Seduction,” that we thought hilarious. (Now granted, my sons have warned me off, repeatedly, for recommending films I think are “hilarious,” pointing out that my taste in films can at times render the word “eccentric” out of reach.)
But, I’m throwing caution to the wind here, and telling you that “The Great Seduction” is, indeed, a little film with heart and a sense of humor. It is about Tickle Head, a small harbor town in Newfoundland that’s lost its livelihood. A company is interested in moving there, but they require that the town have a minimum population number and a full-time doctor.
It’s what they do to attract the doctor. Kinda like “Doc Hollywood.” And hopefully, I’ll see you at the movies.