A film I was writing about for a part of my dissertation. A young singer-actress, Esther (Judy Garland) is helped by an aging actor, Norman Maine (James Mason) while his career goes in a downward spiral.
To be honest, prior to writing about it I had never actually seen it or heard of it before. And at the same time, the running time of c. 3 hours really put me off initially. However, this film wasn’t all that bad. The costumes were also pretty good too.
When I heard about the film’s problematic production history, it seemed such a pity seeing as it was quite a good film all things considered. It was a chance for Garland to yet again show off her powerful voice, which she did for sure whenever she sang any of the musical numbers.
James Mason as failed actor Norman Maine was interesting enough but it was certainly clear that due to over-savage editing, it left the relationship between Norman and Esther to be quite lacking. In the same way, while the musical and dance numbers were certainly joyful some of them went on for far too long and at times it just felt like a poor effort to pad the film out.
The ending was certainly very tragic, given how the parallel between this film and Judy Garland’s own life seems all too similar. It also emphasizes the fragility of Hollywood fame. If you’re a fan of Judy Garland’s films at all, I’d recommend you check it out.
MY RATING: ***.5 / *****