Tuesday, November 22, 2016


(Post 8 of 10) 

The middle one of the three major versions of A Star is Born. I'm a little surprised that this one was chosen over the 1937 original, but A Star is Born '54 does have a lot more flashy dance numbers than the original and is certainly a must for Judy Garland fans. One problem for me is that it doesn't seem like Judy and co-star James Mason have very much chemistry. I almost feel like Mason accidentally wandered over to the A Star is Born set from a different movie. But I still like the film overall and it's certainly better than the later Streisand/'Kristofferson version.

And the Elisha Cook Jr. supporting player award goes to..Jack Carson

This is Jack Carson
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang, with a whimper

Jack Carson's hulking, tough guy persona seemed tailor made to play a press agent like he does in A Star is Born. He did occasionally did have some leading roles in the 40's, though his best ones seemed to be supporting ones like in Mildred Pierce or Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Jack is not to be confused with Don Defore, who was best known as playing the father in Hazel during the 60's. I bring this up, because I use to get them mixed up...silly me.

This is not Jack Carson.
It's Don Defore


  1. I love this version of ASIB the most but agree that the Gaynor/March one is an excellent film with beautiful work by both. Best not to speak of the Streisand one.

    Judy and James Mason are fantastic in this but their lack of a romantic spark is probably the one shortcoming of the film. It never really gets past the fond stage but still doesn't distract from her big moments when she comes close to cracking under the strain of trying to help him and failing. You would feel that sort of frustration for anyone you loved. And the rest of her performance is simply titanic, to see some of the numbers that they had cut out originally especially Lose That Long Face and the recording session makes you wonder if the powers that be at the time understood good filmmaking.

    I think Tommy Noonan is very good as her steadfast friend Danny but agree that Carson is the standout supporting player. He twists his patented hale fellow-well met persona just enough to make him believable as the reptilian Matt Libby, and even make it slightly understandable how he became such a vile man.

    Love the clarifying pics of Carson & DeFore who are a similar type. They even costarred in at least one film, Doris Day's first movie-Romance on the High Seas. But Jack Carson was a more individual and charismatic performer.

    1. Thank you for your input. I've really learned to appreciate Judy Garland much more since I've started doing this blog.

  2. I think I liked this movie better than ou did. I like that it does not feel like a musical, but merely a movie with music. Also Mason is always awesome and that helps a lot. Cannot compare it to the other versions of this story, but try compare it to Seven Brides or Oklahoma. This is something else.