In 1937, the first version of “A Star Is Born” hit the silver screen. This classic movie tells the story of a young woman’s rise to fame in Hollywood while her mentor and lover’s career slowly fades away. The original film was directed by William A. Wellman, produced by David O. Selznick, and starred two of the biggest names in Hollywood at the time.
Janet Gaynor, who won an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Esther Blodgett, later known as Vicki Lester, was one of the most popular actresses of her day. She was best known for her performances in silent films like “Sunrise,” “Seventh Heaven,” and “Street Angel.” Her natural talent and versatility made her a perfect fit for this role.
Fredric March played Norman Maine, a fading movie star who discovers Esther and helps her become a star. March was also a highly respected actor at the time, having won an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for his role in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Hyde.” He was known for his ability to play diverse roles with ease and his chemistry with Gaynor made their performances unforgettable.
The supporting cast included Lionel Stander as Matt Libby, Norman’s loyal friend and press agent; Adolphe Menjou as Oliver Niles, a wealthy producer who helps Esther with her career; May Robson as Grandmother Lettie Blodgett; and Andy Devine as Danny McGuire.
The film received seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (March), Best Actress (Gaynor), and Best Original Story. It won only one award for Best Original Screenplay.
In 1954, a musical version of “A Star Is Born” was released, starring Judy Garland and James Mason. This film was a huge success and has since become a classic in its own right. It was remade twice more in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and again in 2018 with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.
In conclusion, the original “A Star Is Born” movie featured two Hollywood legends in Janet Gaynor and Fredric March who brought their immense talent to the screen. The film’s timeless story has been adapted multiple times over the years, but none can match the sheer power of the original.