I Dood It (1943)- Vincente Minnelli



“I Dood It” (1943). I can’t believe they used this ridiculous phrase as the title of a movie. “I Dood It” isn’t really a movie anyway, as much as it is a series of musical and comedic sketches grouped together.I Dood It (1943) The little plot that does exist is centered around Broadway star Constance Shaw (Eleanor Powell), and the poor, common man, Joe (Red Skelton), who falls in love with her. She, in turn, is in love with someone else (at least she thinks she is), so in order to make him jealous, Constance marries Joe, believing that he is rich and successful.

The arbitrary story makes “I Dood It” an easily forgettable film. Red Skelton and Eleanor Powell, however, dood their best to save it at every turn. The dance numbers make things worthwhile, especially Powell’s opening performance, dressed as a cowgirl, tapping away in boots, lasso in hand, impressing with the long, uncut takes masterfully directed by Minnelli. This truly is the highlight of the picture, and is so good that you’ll want to go back and watch it again. It is an extremely complex number, and one that deserves to be showcased, illustrating how far her talents could stretch. Of course, as an enormous fan of Powell, I will always find reasons to sing her praises. I Dood It (1943)All of her dances in “I Dood It” are incredible… that is, except for the big finish, which is just stolen from Powell’s earlier movie, “Born to Dance” (1936)- but it was good the first time, and is still enjoyable in this movie, just not original. That’s just awful and cheap MGM, and I for one, am hugely disappointed. How could they dood that?

Red Skelton is as funny as ever, even when recycling jokes from earlier film performances. It doesn’t really matter because he has the ability to be funny in so many ways, he’s bound to get you smiling one way or the other. The scenes that he shares with Powell are particularly special. Her physical abilities are undeniable, but it’s her comedic skills here that are a bit of a pleasant surprise. The scene where she accidentally drinks a glass of champagne with multiple sleeping pills inside is her comedic highlight, as Skelton attempts to put her to bed, without any of her help. I Dood It (1943)“I Dood It” is based on the Buster Keaton film, “Spite Marriage” (1929), and Keaton was known to work with Skelton on many of his physical sketches. Odds are, he was involved here as well.

Besides the obvious lack of plot, the other reason “I Dood It” suffers is because it tries to incorporate other musical numbers into the film, even though they had nothing to do with the story. Jimmy Dorsey and his band, Hazel Scott, and the great Lena Horne, (one of my favorites) all offer a little something special to the production, even if for no reason. Don’t get me wrong, these performances are wonderful and entertaining on their own, but because they don’t fit into the plot, they end up just dragging the flow of the film, and increasing the running time.

You would think that Minnelli, Skelton, Powell and Horne would be able to put something special and memorable together, but alas, that is not the case. They just can’t dood it. I mean do it.


Broadway Melody of 1936 (1936)-Roy Del Ruth



The “Broadway Melody” films that MGM released between 1929 and 1940 are a series of four pictures that have nothing in common except for their name. They are, typically speaking, low on plot and high on musical talent. Broadway Melody of 1936 (1936)They also were extremely successful. The second of the four, “Broadway Melody of 1936” (1936), was the first of three to star Eleanor Powell, and also receives a boost from Jack Benny in a comic relief supporting performance. The plot, however, is nothing too exciting, and leaves the audience begging for more dancing…and Eleanor Powell.

Irene Foster (Powell) is an aspiring musical performer who travels to New York City to see a big time theater producer, Robert Gordon (Robert Taylor), who also happens to be an old friend from high school. He is against Irene trying to be a performer, but his secretary (Una Merkel) teams with Irene to prove her talents to Gordon. It seems that everybody except for Gordon is anxious to get Irene dancing. There is the brother/sister dance team (real life brother and sister Vilma & Buddy Ebsen), who become Irene’s friends, and she even convinces a gossip columnist (Jack Benny) and his slap-stick Broadway Melody of 1936 (1936)side kick (Sid Silvers), to lend a helping hand.

Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed put together a handful of decent songs for this picture, most of which are more remembered today as being recycled in the more popular “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952). In fact, “Broadway Melody of 1936” was well received upon its initial release and was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Story (I don’t get that one), and my favorite (forgotten) category, Best Dance Direction, which it won! An even more impressive feat when you consider the tough competition from “Top Hat” (1936).

It’s a good thing that this film does have such marvelous dancing, because the rest kind of falls short. Jack Benny and Sid Silvers are funny, but aren’t given enough screen time to make a significant impact. Broadway Melody of 1936 (1936)This movie (like so many 1930’s musicals) is really just about the dancing anyway. And that my friends, is where Eleanor Powell is allowed to shine. She is absolutely amazing in dance after dance, scene after scene. Her movements are an inspiration, and when she really gets going in her highlighted dance number, Powell becomes the very definition of sexy. She’s a breath of fresh air every time she starts moving, and the overall picture could have benefited significantly from more of her and less of everything else. If she is the only reason you watch “Broadway Melody of 1936”, believe me, that is reason enough. She gets ★★★★★, and the rest of the film only gets ★★.

Second Chorus (1940)- H.C. Potter



Sometimes it’s important to remember that Fred Astaire couldn’t do everything. When watching his 1940 comedic musical “Second Chorus”, this fact becomes obvious for two reasons: first off, he is not an accomplish trumpeter; second, even his dancing, charm, charisma, and smile can’t save every film in which he appeared. Second Chorus (!940)The plot of this misguided musical revolves around two trumpet playing members of a college band: Danny (Fred Astaire) and Hank (Burgess Meredith). They have spent the past seven years intentionally failing their courses in order to stay  in the collegiate band. At one of their gigs, they both notice and are attracted to Ellen Miller (Paulette Goddard), who turns out to be working for a collection agency, sent there to serve them with a collection notice. Danny and Hank go to Ellen’s office, where they get her fired and then hire her to be their manager. (Somehow she’s alright with this turn of events.) After things begin going well, bandleader Artie Shaw (played by himself) attends one of their shows. Danny and Hank think that he is there to hear them play, but really he wants to hire Ellen, since it’s her managing skills that made the difference for the group.

The rest of the film shows Danny and Hank endlessly fighting with each other to win Ellen’s affections, and the affections of Artie Shaw.Second Chorus (1940) They go back and forth, being as destructive as possible to themselves, each other, and Ellen. If the overly lighthearted and whimsical (borderline frustrating) plot isn’t enough to send up a series of red flags in the viewer’s mind, don’t worry, there are plenty of other problems to make it more obvious. Fred Astaire does his best to keep things rolling, but he is the only person in the film that can sing, and the only person who can really dance. His final number, “Hoe Down The Bayou/Poor Mr. Chisholm,” is an immensely entertaining solo number, full of the usual Astaire delights. Paulette Goddard does her best in her one dance number, and between Astaire dancing around her and the beautiful and distracting dress she has, Goddard ends up looking pretty darn good, considering. Her acting, however, is far more realistic than her musical abilities, and when you’re paired with Astaire, that spells trouble. What makes things really weird is that it’s a musical film, but only one person is doing most of the singing and dancing. Second Chorus (1940)Artie Shaw and his band come in with some good jazz numbers to spice things up, but this is really a one-man-show attempting to disguise itself as something bigger.

In later years, everyone associated with “Second Chorus” agreed that it was a mistake, leading to its falling into public domain. Although it’s easy to see why they feel this way, it is also important to look at the positives as well. In addition to Astaire’s usual charms, Burgess Meredith adds quite a lot laughs to the film. He has a few memorable moments, particularly with the rich backer trying to become a musician (played by Charles Butterworth). I’d be lying if I said their exchanges didn’t leave me smiling.Second Chorus (1940)

There are also the songs in the movie written by Johnny Mercer, including “Love of My Life”, which was co-written by Artie Shaw and earned an Academy Award nomination that year. There is also the dance number, “Me And The Ghost Upstairs” that was deleted from the film, but is included in the special features of some DVD’s. In this number, Astaire’s longtime choreographer, Hermes Pan, dresses in women’s shoes, puts on a sheet (hence the ghost), and mimic dances behind him. It’s really too bad this number wasn’t in the final film, as it would have enhanced both the dancing and the comedy of the overall production.


You Were Never Lovelier (1942)- William A. Seiter



American dancer Bob Davis (Fred Astaire) would like to retire from his line of work and spend all his time at the racetrack. Unfortunately for Bob, he isn’t as good with the horses as he would like.You Were Never Lovelier (1942) Broke and busted in Buenos Aires, Bob heads over to Hotel Acuna to get some work. The harsh hotel owner, Eduardo Acuna (Adolphe Menjou), won’t even see Bob, partially because he doesn’t want to and partially because he is preparing for his daughter’s upcoming wedding. Bob, coincidentally, meets his old friend, bandleader Xavier Cugat (who uses his real name to play his character), and together they devise a plan to get Acuna to notice Bob. At the wedding, Bob will sing a romantic song as the newlyweds come together for their first dance.

You Were Never Lovelier (1942)During the wedding Bob goes unnoticed by Acuna, and is further discouraged when he is ignored by Acuna’s next eldest daughter, the beautiful Maria (Rita Hayworth). Bob tries to talk to Acuna about a job, unaware that Maria is his daughter, and mentions that she has the personality of an ice box, thus cementing a bitter feel to his and Acuna’s relationship.

Acuna has four daughters and has told them that, as per family tradition, they must be married in age order, making Maria next in line. Her two younger sisters have already found their men and are impatiently waiting for Maria to meet Mr. Right. In an unusual twist for this type of movie, Acuna is not an overly protective or unemotional character. You Were Never Lovelier (1942)He too wants to see Maria fall head over heels, so much so that he creates an imaginary admirer for his daughter.

After many poems and flowers (all sent by her father), Maria falls in love with her imaginary man, who she mistakenly thinks is Bob. In order to try to help matters, Acuna hires Bob to pose as Maria’s suitor, in exchange for a dancing contract at the hotel. Naturally, once Bob spends some time with Maria’s charming smile, sparkling eyes and irresistible dance moves, he can’t help but fall in love with her, even if under false pretenses.

Alright, so  the plot could be interchanged for most other Astaire films, especially when you consider that when Maria and Bob meet there are no sparks, only to later lead to a romance. This seems to be the basic idea of every Astaire dancing film, doesn’t it? Then there are the dancing numbers.You Were Never Lovelier (1942) As always Fred has an energetic solo number, followed by a romantic duet in the garden, and then another fast-paced modern dance number with his leading lady. All that’s left is a final romantic number right at the film’s climax, and don’t worry, you won’t be disappointed, as Astaire delivers again.

What makes “You Were Never Lovelier” such a great film is the perfection of each and every one of these dance numbers. Fred’s solo, Latin inspired number is one of his personal best. Cramped into a small office while auditioning for Acuna, Astaire manages to make theYou Were Never Lovelier (1942) room seem bigger by jumping on a table, Acuna’s desk, pushing back a chair, and even using things sitting around the room as props. This number seems uncharacteristic of Astaire throughout his career, as there is a special flare to it that really shows his excitement and passion over making this film. This much enthusiasm only appears a few times in his carrer, although he comes quite close regularly.

Likewise with Astaire and Hayworth’s “Zoot Suit” number, these two irresistible stars seem to be having more fun than usual, only making the audience yearn for more from them both. The young Hayworth (who was only 24 years old when the film was released) is able to keep up with the never-tiring Astaire, who despite being 19 years older than Hayworth, still makes everyone watching feel old and decrepit. You Were Never Lovelier (1942)(How does he move around a room like that?)

Another aspect of this film that I find quite interesting is the wonderful Adolphe Menjou. Capable of so many different types of roles, he adds a sense of legitimacy to “You Were Never Lovelier”. He spends so much of the film barking orders to those around him, but because Menjou is such a talented actor, he mixes things up by making his yelling seem amusing, nicely fitting into the comedy feel of the film. It also doesn’t hurt that the character is written as such a soft-hearted romantic. Even when he treats everyone around him with contempt, he instantly redeems himself with some act of kindness, fully devoted to his daughter’s happiness.

The two pairings of Fred Astaire and Rita You Were Never Lovelier (1942)Hayworth (the other being “You’ll Never Get Rich”) might not be widely remembered as Astaire’s best movies, but I am unsure as to why. Their chemistry is undeniable, their dancing impeccable and the music is unforgettable. Any opportunity to see Rita and Fred is one that shouldn’t be missed, and I dearly wish they had been able to work together in more than just these two pictures as they quite honestly… were never lovelier.

You’ll Never Get Rich (1941)- Sidney Lanfield



Fred Astaire: The greatest male dancer in the history of film. Does that sound about right? Sure you can make the argument for Gene Kelly, but since he was adamant about Astaire being the best, I’m not going to argue with him.You'll Never Get Rich (1941) Throughout Astaire’s career he appeared in musicals with many of the top stars of his time, like Judy Garland, Cyd Charisse, Paulette Goddard, Jane Powell, Audrey Hepburn, Majorie Reynolds, Eleanor Powell, and of course, Ginger Rogers. What is amazing about Fred Astaire in these films is that time and time again he electrifies the screen with his graceful beauty, no matter who is dancing next to him. Occasionally, there would be a co-star who did more than that- someone who could give as much to the chemistry of the number as they took away, and that is when you can see the magic happen. It worked with Ginger Rogers during “Cheek to Cheek” in “Top Hat” (1935), and again during “Pick Yourself Up” in their film “Swing Time” (1936). Cyd Charisse did some of her best dancing along side him during “The Girl Hunt Ballet” and “Dancing in the Dark” in “The Band Wagon” (1953). You'll Never Get Rich (1941)Eleanor Powell is invigorating with Astaire during “Begin the Beguine” in “The Broadway Melody of 1940” (1940), and of course, there was that hat rack during “Sunday Jumps” in “Royal Wedding” (1951). And then there were those two films he made at Columbia Pictures alongside up-and-comer Rita Hayworth- now there’s a match made in heaven.

In their first film together, “You’ll Never Get Rich” (1941), Fred Astaire plays Robert, a theater manager and choreographer working for a womanizing theater owner, Martin Cortland (Robert Benchley). Cortland is trying to attract his new chorus girl, Sheila (Hayworth), but when his wife (Frieda Inescort) finds a diamond bracelet with Sheila’s name inscribed, Cortland pretends he bought it for Robert to give to Sheila instead. You'll Never Get Rich (1941)Robert, being the obliging friend, plays along and goes out in public with Sheila, who is delighted to have Robert’s attention, until she discovers that it’s all just for show.

The situation worsens when Sheila’s long-time admirer, Barton (John Hubbard), comes to town, and Robert finds himself looking to escape an embarrassing scene. The answer to his problems comes from an unusual source, as he is drafted into the Army, and finds himself happy to run away from this ever-increasingly difficult situation.

Once in the army, with time for thought and reflection on his hands, Robert decides that he really does have feelings for Sheila, and longs to see her again. Then, in Hollywood fashion, his dreams are answered as Sheila just happens to come stay at a farm nearby the Army barracks. Why you might ask? You'll Never Get Rich (1941)Because her would-be-suitor Barton is actually Robert’s superior officer! Imagine that.

Alright, so the plot couldn’t be much more ridiculous or Hollywood driven, but do we really watch Fred Astaire movies because of the outstanding plots? No, we come for the dancing, and that it where “You’ll Never Get Rich” shines. The film is filled with songs intended to showcase Astaire, but the only solo numbers that really stand out are when he is in the guardhouse and does some fancy footwork to the jazz music created by his fellow inmates. The real memorable numbers are the ones where Astaire and Hayworth get together. Just a few minutes into the film Robert accuses Sheila of being “off” during a chorus number and he pulls her out of line to go through it with him. Rita Hayworth and Fred AstaireThis is the moment that the audience begins to pay attention. Hayworth steps up next to Astaire and dances as his equal. Perhaps it’s because it’s unexpected for a “lesser known” actress to be able to handle herself so well, but for whatever reason, it is Hayworth that captivates us for these few moments.

Unfortunately for the film, these moments don’t continue. The legendary Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics for this film, and clearly it is not his best work. Most of the film is spent focused on Astaire’s dancing, distracting us from the lack of musical greatness in the songs. It’s not until the film’s climax that we get another stimulating Astaire/Hayward number, but it clearly is worth the wait. Porter wrote the number, “So Near and Yet So Far,” with a rumba melody in order to accentuate Hayworth’s natural talents, but cleverly ties in a ballroom dance feel, giving this one number an original and highly captivates allure. Rita Hayworth and Fred AstaireThe two appear to be having the time of their lives dancing together- and the feeling is quite contagious.

Overall, “You’ll Never Get Rich” isn’t a spectacular movie. It has its ups and downs, but is still worth watching just to see these two screen icons together. The real shame of the situation is that they only rejoined once more.

Carmen Jones (1954)- Otto Preminger



The musical film “Carmen Jones” (1954) had a long journey from its original conception to the silver screen. The novella, “Carmen,” written by Prosper Merimee in 1845, was the basis for French composer, Georges Bizet’s 1875 Opera of the same name. Then in 1943, Robert Russell Bennett orchestrated the opera into a stage production (now titled “Carmen Jones”) with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Carmen Jones (1954)This adaptation updated the story by moving it to a World War II-era, African-American setting. Then, Harry Kleiner wrote a screenplay based on Hammerstein’s libretto (and also Prosper’s original novella), which became the basis of producer/director Otto Preminger’s film.

The plot revolves around an up-and-coming WWII soldier named Joe (Harry Belafonte, with singing voice dubbed by LeVern Hutcherson), and his relationship with a temptress named Carmen (Dorothy Dandridge, with her singing dubbed by Marilyn Horne). As the film opens, Joe is about to be married to his home-town girl, Cindy Lou (Olga James), when a fight breaks out between Carmen and another woman working in the parachute factory. Joe is ordered to transport Carmen to the authorities in Masonville, miles away.

On the ensuing journey, Carmen does her best to seduce Joe, despite his reluctance. When their jeep ends up in a river, Carmen convinces Joe to let her make him dinner in a nearby town. Carmen Jones (1954)Alone in a hot, dirty and secluded shack, Joe stops fighting himself, and Carmen gets her way. She also slips out while Joe’s not looking, which gets him thrown in the stockade for a month.

During this time, Carmen, still hung up on Joe, meets Husky Miller (Joe Adams, with singing voice dubbed by Marvin Hayes), a rough, tough boxing champion. She spurs his advances because of Joe, but after Joe is released, things don’t go exactly the way she hoped or planned. He becomes obsessed with her and stifles the adventurous, carefree attitude that made her so appealing in the first place. In order to escape the claustrophobic situation, Carmen leaves Joe for Husky (and his fame and fortune).

It’s easy to see how in 1954, “Carmen Jones” was popular with critics and audiences. The story itself is timeless, and could even be updated again today just by changing the setting. There is something about obsessive love in a relationship with a cold-hearted vixen that seems to apply to every generation and setting. Carmen Jones (1954)The cast leaves something to be desired, as many of the smaller roles are unimportant and seems to be acted with a level of inexperience. Dorothy Dandridge, however, gives such a phenomenal performance that nobody’s really watching the other characters anyway. She received a much deserved Academy Award nomination for this performance, making her the first African-American to ever earn a nomination in the Best Actress category. There wouldn’t be another until Diana Ross and Cicely Tyson were both nominated in 1972.

The other reason, and perhaps the largest reason for the success of “Carmen Jones,” was the blatant sexuality that oozed from every frame of film. This was partially because of Dorothy Dandridge and the way she played her part, and partially because of the costumes designed by Mary Ann Nyberg. The majority of it, however, came from Otto Preminger and his apparently fearless goal of making films that were real. Carmen Jones (1954)Never afraid to butt heads with the Motion Picture Production Code, Preminger set out to make this the most sultry, passion-filled, sex related film possible- and that is exactly what he did.

Today, “Carmen Jones” lacks not so much as a film, but because it takes place in a forgotten time. The entire African-American cast keeps the film in a time capsule, resonating with the sadness of a segregated society. It also suffers from a shortened running time that seems to be overrun with slower, lackluster songs. More upbeat scenes (and perhaps a dance number or two) would keep things moving with a more entertaining pace. It’s obvious that the idea here was to focus on the singing, which is fine; however neither leading actor was able to sing for themselves (despite their natural singing abilities), and that lowers the overall quality another notch as the dubbed voices are noticeable and uninspiring.

Otto Preminger undertook quite a challenge in bringing this story to the screen, and his dedication and commitment to excellence certainly shines through. Carmen Jones (1954)Unlike so many musicals that came before, “Carmen Jones” lacks the toe-tapping, smile producing song and dance numbers, but Preminger has made up for this with an abundance of sexual energy and pure unadulterated drama. I find it interesting that this film was released just three months after Stanley Donan’s screen adaptation of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954), filled with ridiculous scenarios and plotlines, but having fun at every turn. In between these two films, the serious musical film, “A Star is Born” (1954) was also released, but when the Academy Award nominations rolled around, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” received a Best Picture nomination, leaving the drama musicals standing on the sidelines, waiting to be appreciated in a later time.

A Star is Born (1954)- George Cukor



Rarely can you find a film that really does have a little bit of everything. But that is what you will get with George Cukor’s cinematic masterpiece, “A Star is Born” (1954). There is plenty of drama, a sweeping and realistic romance, a few laughs, perfect performances, and oh yes, Judy Garland singing.

This film is a remake of the 1937 film of the same name, written and directed by William A Wellman.A Star is Born (1954) It tells the story of unknown aspiring singer, Esther Blodgett (Garland), and her rise to fame with the help of the alcoholic, deteriorating movie star, Norman Maine (James Mason). Maine meets Blodgett on the stage, during a Hollywood event. Even though he is highly inebriated at the time, Blodgett is able to dance and sing around him, making it seem more of a joke than a disastrous episode.

After the show, Maine tracks Blodgett down at a nightclub where she is singing with friends. He is blown away by her talent, and promises to make her a star. She believes him and does everything that he asks. Thanks to his help, her career takes off, and a romance quickly blossoms between them.

The majority of the story revolves around Blodgett (renamed Vicki Lester) and her rise to the top, while Maine’s career continues to plummet in leu of his excessive drinking. A Star is Born (1954)There have been many films throughout history about an alcoholic who brings down the lives of those around him. So what makes this one so different? The answer is, the romance. One might expect Vicki Lester to enjoy her rise to fame, and follow the usual Hollywood stereotype that has her continue to become more successful by stepping on everyone who has helped her career. That, however, doesn’t happen, because above everything (the fame, the money and the success), she still just wants to see Maine restored to his happier, no-drinking glory.

It doesn’t matter how many times this movie is made and re-made, George Cukor’s 1954 will always remain the quintessential version. The credit for this film’s success and brilliance can be attributed to so many different people it is hard to cover all of them, or even know where to begin.A Star is Born (1954) The majority of the distinction, however, belongs to Cukor for his impeccable direction, and to the performances of the film’s stars (Garland and Mason).

It’s easy to get hung up on Judy Garland in “A Star is Born.” She plays this part in a way that makes her previous films seem like child-play. This was supposed to be a “comeback” film for her after her personal life had spiraled her career out of control, but it actually serves more as a welcomed attempt at “real acting.” I don’t mean to offend any Garland fans by saying that most of her career wasn’t real acting, but rather that this was the turning point for her roles. It wasn’t enough to just smile and sing, she needed to dig deeper within herself to find this kind of performance, and her effort (and the final result) is glorious. Yes, she should have won the Academy Award. I can admit it, even being a Grace Kelly fan, who did win for “A Country Girl” (1954), supposedly by just six votes. “A Star is Born” is the best acting performance of Judy Garland’s career.

James Mason is one of those actors that can easily be overlooked, since his career was filled with so many perfect roles and performances. It doesn’t really seem to matter what kind of movie he is making, he always gives everything he can to the audience, providing the highest quality at every turn. A Star is Born (1954)“A Star is Born” might just seem like one of many great films for Mason, but it is so much more than that. He lays it all out for this role, leaving nothing behind, in an attempt to outdo the great Fredric March (who first undertook this role in the 1937 film). Mason succeeded. This is the only role in his career for which he received a Best Actor Academy Award (his other two nominations came as Best Supporting Actor in ’66 and ’82), and it will always be remembered (even if just by me), as one of his very best.

Is “A Star is Born” a sad, depressing  movie? Certainly, but the tragedy of the film has more to do with Garland’s personal life, along with the repeated rise and fall of her career. She plays Blodgett perfectly, but must have identified with Maine quite a lot.

“A Star is Born” ushered in a new era in serious musicals that would be produced. Typically when I think about musicals that I love, I  lean toward the easy-going, happy films, but “A Star is Born” has been crafted so meticulously, with such precision, that I can’t help but love and enjoy each and every one of the 176 minutes.

A Star is Born (1954)

Of the other film’s versions available, William A. Wellman’s “A Star is Born” (1937) is a well crafted drama that also had both stars (Janet Gaynor & Fredric March) nominated for Academy Awards. The “A Star is Born” (1976) directed by Frank Pierson is also a musical, but lacks any real intensity and feels quite lackluster.