Friday, 15 November 2013

THE STAR (1952) WEB SITE

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  • Production Credits

  • Director - Stuart Heisler
  • Screenplay - Katherine Albert
  • Screenplay - Dale Eunson
  • Producer - Bert E. Friedlob
  • From Story - Katherine Albert
  • From Story - Dale Eunson
  • Cinematography - Ernest Laszlo
  • Editor - Otto Ludwig
  • Music - Victor Young
  • Art Direction - Boris Leven

Cast Credits

  • Bette Davis - Margaret Elliot
  • Sterling Hayden - Jim Johannson
  • Natalie Wood - Gretchen
  • Warner Anderson - Harry Stone
  • Minor Watson - Joe Morrison
  • June Travis - Mrs Morrison
  • Katherine Warren - Landlady
  • Barbara Woodell - Peggy Morgan
  • Fay Baker - Margaret's Sister
  • Barbara Lawrence - Herself
  • David Alpert - Margaret's Brother-In-LawAwards

Awards

Nomination
  • Best Actress - Bette Davis - 1952 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  • Film Presented - 1978 Telluride Film Festival

I loved this movie! I campaigned 20th Century Fox to bring it out on video because my copy was on BETA and my Betamax has long since broke. What's interesting about this movie is that it was first offered to Joan Crawford who turned it down flat. At the same time, "Sudden Fear" was presented to Davis, who didn't like the script. Davis also turned down "Come Back, Little Sheba". Well, guess what? Davis accepted "The Star", Joan accepted "Sudden Fear" and Shirley Booth got the chance to repeat her stage success in "Sheba" and all three got nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 1952! Amazing.

Bette Davis did everything but hit the ceiling in "The Star". She was trying her best to give an Academy Award-type performance. And it was. Margaret to her agent: "You can do everything but get me a picture, can't you?! Harry Stone, the big star-maker, the gentleman agent, my friend!" That was one of the early great lines uttered by has-been movie queen, Margaret Elliot. There were many more to come. Davis turned in a realistic performance as the aging star and conveyed the frustrations that many older performers feel when they realize the truth about their failing careers.

Margaret is torn between her fear of age, her devotion to her young daughter and her drive to be "put back where I belong." She is saddled with a family that she had cared for, financially, since she became a star and their inability to understand that she was no longer a rich and famous actress. I loved the scene when she throws out her sister and brother-in-law in a fit of screaming anger, then grabs her Oscar and takes a drunken ride through the streets of Beverly Hills. After her arrest, Margaret pays a visit to her agent's office. He tell her that she's had his office "running around in circles". Margaret retorts, "Well I'VE been 'running around in circles', too! But not MARGARET ELLIOT circles!"

When Margaret gets the chance to tryout for a movie ("The Fatal Winter") she's wanted for years, she's informed that she is not reading for the lead, but the lead's older sister, Sara. Elliot plots to convince the producers that she should play the younger part by botching the screen test, playing the older sister like a young siren. 

Sara: "It isn't like you to pay a social visit, Jed Garfield, what are you doing here?" Jed: "You got it fixed up real nice, Sara, real nice". Sara: "I like things nice. What do you want?" Jed: "You used to be quite a girl, you still think you are, don't you?" Sara: "I still know what's right from wrong." Jed: "You think it's right to tell folks you were in the lane the night of the murder?" Sara: "I was there, Jed Garfield, you KNOW I was there..." Jed: "Well, if you was there, what was you doin' there?" Sara: "None of your business what I was doing there." Jed: "Well, it's my business if you're tryin' to ruin my brother." Sara: "Maybe I was thinking what he tried to do to me." Jed: "You don't know Lance, when he's crossed." Sara: "I know Lance Garfield, pretty well! You don't know HOW well, I know your brother." 

She played this like a flirting, young teenager and the test was awful. But it was wonderful ACTING by Miss Bette Davis!

For those who expect to see Margo Channing of "All About Eve", they won't see her here. Davis IS Margaret Elliot! When she said to the old women at the department store, "I AM Margaret Elliot, and I intend to STAY 'Margaret Elliot'!" she meant it.

I am crazy about the entire movie. The ending is contrived, but so what? This is what Davis herself described: A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED BETTE DAVIS MOVIE! Pop some corn, get a candy bar and a big soda and watch this on a very rainy day.







CRITICA EN EL PERIODICO "ABC DE SEVILLA" (1-3-1958)
Supone esta grandiosa producción, una indiscutible superación de cuanto hasta ahora se abia llevado a la pantalla respecto al tena sugestivo y humano, del ocaso artístico de quienes colmados de felicidad y aptitudes, se mantienen aureolados por la fama, y mientras poseen el poder de atraer a las masas, luego pretende, cuando los triunfos llegan a menos y las multitudes se apartan de su figura, ya marchita, reverdecer viejos laureles. Esta es la valiente leyenda con que Cifesa se enfrenta en la película estrenada ayer en el Coliseo, y justo es afirmar que es el difícil empeño cinematográfico, logró un éxito total y definitivo. cuanto se desarrolla en el filme tiene el máximo de humanidad y auténtico realismo y nada ocurre que no obedezca al sentido de la expresividad, a la sucesión de imágenes que por si solas relatan y desenvuelven un tema por mortificante que perezca, y al desenlance lógico, que es cuanto exige la técnica del cine para lograr destacados triunfos. Así, en "La estrella" se expone con exactas tonalidades el crepúsculo de una genial artista que no puede doblegar su fama y su propio carácter a la realidad de un echo indubitable: la pública negación a sus esfuerzos por sostener aptitudes y vigores desaparecidos. Y el logro de los productores de esta sensacional película consiste en hallar a la mujer donde no había ya más que el resabio, hecho de soberbia, ante el temor a la humillación. Precisamente, y ello es como una continuación del elogio a la interesante narración, encarna a la protagonista, la insuperable Bette Davis, de cuyas aptitudes de actriz no hay que hacer méritos. Si acaso sólo registrar que en este ocaso artístico que tan dignamente se nos relata, ninguna otra hubiese salido tan airosa de un papel sobrado de crudeza y obsesión destructiva, y como final, compresión, humanismo y amor. Por ello, bien ganado tiene el tercer Oscar, que puede ostentar en su historia artística con indudables méritos. Y no puede dejarse de mencionar la formidable labor del magnifico actor Sterling Hayden, y juntos a ellos, intervenciones de tanta responsabilidad como las de Natalie Wood y Warren Anderson para que el éxito de esta sensacional película sean tan sugestivo como impresionante.- S.










 
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