A Star Is Born centers around rock star John Norman (Kristofferson) whose career has peaked. One night, after a concert, he stumbles into a club where he sees a singing group fronted by young singer Esther Hoffman (Streisand). The two quickly fall in love, although Esther has trouble with John’s rock star lifestyle. One night, a typically burned-out John lets Esther sing a few songs at one of his shows and before long she’s the talk of the record business. While Esther’s star begins to rise, John’s continues to sink, and while she desperately tries to help him clean up and focus on his music, it may be too late to save him.
The 1937 version of A Star Is Born, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, captured seven Academy Award nominations and won one (Best Screenplay); the 1954 version, with Judy Garland and James Mason, was nominated for six Oscars. This version was nominated for four Academy Awards and won five Golden Globes, including Best Picture, Actress, Actor and Original Score. Paul Williams, Kenny Loggins, Leon Russell and others worked with Streisand on the popular song score, topped by the Streisand/Williams hit “Evergreen” which won both the Oscar and Golden Globe as Best Original Song.
Like The Way We Were and Terms of Endearment, A Star is Born is one of those classic tearjerkers and pretty much the archetypal Streisand vehicle. Co-produced by Streisand and her then partner Jon Peters the duo initially sought out Elvis for the Kristofferson role, A Star is Born was a huge hit on its cinematic release and Streisand had one of the biggest hits of her career with the song Evergreen (the main theme from the movie). Easily the equal of the classy 1937 version and much better than the 1954 James Mason attempt.
USA / Warner – Barwood – First Artists / 140 minutes / 1976 Filmed in Metrocolor
Writers: John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion, Frank Pierson / Musical Director: Paul Mazursky / Production Design: Polly Piatt / Producers: Barbra Streisand / Director: Frank Pierson
Academy Awards: Song “Evergreen” (music Barbra Streisand / lyrics Paul Williams)
Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, Gary Busey, Sally Kirkland