- More than a 250 stars attended the September 1954 Pantages Theatre gala premiere.
- Many predicting an Oscar sweep for the films with top acting awards going to Judy Garland and James Mason.
- More than 20,000 fans were spectators at the Pantages premiere demanding Warner Bros and the Los Angeles Police Department to organize traffic pans for the premiere.
VIDEO OF THE NBC COVERAGE OF THE PREMIERE
A great video of the Pantages premiere.
- The critics celebrated Judy Garland’s return to the screen after an absence of several years and praised her performance in the heavy-budgeted remake of the memorable 1937 Janet Ganor-Fredric March film.
- James Mason was praised for his interpretation of a top Hollywood star, whose descending career is blamed on alcoholism.
- Time wrote Garland “gives what is just about the greatest one-woman show in modern movie history,” and Newsweek said the film is “best classified as a thrilling personal triumph for Judy Garland. As an actress, Miss Garland is more than adequate. As a mime and comedienne, she is even better. But as a singer, she can handle anything from torch songs and blues to ballads. In more ways than one, the picture is hers.”
- When the Oscar for Best Actress went to Grace Kelly instead of Garland, Groucho Marx called it “the biggest robbery since Brink’s.”
- Hollywood and the public were furious that the Oscars had passed up Garland for a win.
A STAR IS BORN
- A Star Is Born is the 1954 American musical film written by Moss Hart, starring Judy Garland and James Mason, and directed by George Cukor.
- Hart’s screenplay was an adaptation of the original 1937 film, which was based on the original screenplay by Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell, and from the same story by William A. Wellman and Carson, with uncredited input from six additional writers—David O. Selznick, Ben Hecht, Ring Lardner Jr., John Lee Mahin, Budd Schulberg and Adela Rogers St. Johns.
- In 2000, the 1954 film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
- The film ranked #43 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Passions list in 2002 and #7 on its list of greatest musicals in 2006. The song “The Man That Got Away” was ranked #11 on AFI’s list of 100 top songs in films.
Garland had not made a movie since she had negotiated a release from her MGM contract soon after filming began on Royal Wedding in 1950, and the film was promoted heavily as her comeback.
For her performance in A Star is Born, Garland was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
- NBC, which was televising the ceremony, sent a film crew to the hospital room where she was recuperating after giving birth to her son Joey in order to carry her acceptance speech live if she won, but she lost to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl.