Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And This Will End It

The other night TCM showed the Judy Garland version of A Star is Born. For a number of reasons, I prefer the Janet Gaynor version from the thirties. Like most originals, the 30s version had more heart, and for me, I didn't have to listen to Judy Garland's campy singing for what seemed like hours. The male lead in the original was a better person than in the second version; he loved his wife more. Plus, the first time I saw it the end shocked me, and of course I knew what was coming with this one. Additionally, for some reason the studio cut and lost portions of the second one and the viewer now has to sit through bizarre stills with dialogue in the background for quite a bit. I wished they would have cut Judy's numbers instead of the story scenes. And as Robert Osborne says, the rise of the young starlet in the first version makes more sense, and Judy Garland was too old for the role to be believable.

Before anyone says, what's wrong with Judy Garland, I would say this: She could sing a great song. But one song at a time is enough, and her dancing is a little silly. That said, "The Man Who Got Away" was fabulous, the perfect song for her, like Sinatra singing "One for the Road." She is too much about her tragedy for me, and this is why she is an icon for gays--her tragic, put upon, victimized life that ended in suicide. She was sad, looking for something over the rainbow.

Rarely are remakes better. There is no way I would spend money to see Karate Kid again, even with Jackie Chan.

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