Babs and Kris get it on in this updated rags-to-riches saga which now sports a new high-definition sheen....
Warner / 140 Minutes / 1976 / Rated R / Street Date: February 5, 2013
Barbra Streisand, in her white-girl afro, is clearly the central figure of the 1976 retelling of A Star Is Born, and the star doesn’t shy away from the spotlight as her character unfolds in front of our eyes. In fact, there’s so much of a prima donna feel to the film that its over-the-top sensibilities feel often embarrassingly self-centered. Sure, as with earlier versions of the story at hand, one can’t dissect the star-maker machinery without addressing its more egocentric facets, but this Star Is Born doesn’t make Babs’ tissyfits much fun to watch – and without fun superstar breakdowns, what’s the point?
Our film starts by following John Norman Howard (Kris Kristofferson), an aging rocker who has started falling out of the limelight. People still show up for his shows, but his heart isn’t in it any more – he needs a jolt. And this comes in the form of Esther Hoffman (Streisand), a singer performing at a club Howard ventures out to one night. The pair spark up a friendship, then a romance, then a working relationship, and their call-and-response parabolas of stardom begin their inevitable ebb and flow.
Hollywood rumor would lead us to believe that director Frank Pierson and Babs didn’t get along at all during the making of A Star Is Born, and even though the movie itself was a significant success at the box office, there appears to be vestiges of internal strife during many of the movie’s melodramatic moments. Perhaps as an act of twisting the knife, during her rampant presence on this Blu-ray Disc’s bonus slate, Streisand seems to go out of her way to not even mention Pierson’s name – not once. What a diva move….