Stangl

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. — Ecclesiastes 1:9, New International Version (NIV).

I saw a great movie last month. It was this compelling tale about a troubled, aging music star who met a younger talented woman. He gave her a big break, they fell in love and as her star was rising, his set. It was a real tear jerker, the man killed himself so he wouldn’t be a burden to his wife and her career.

Maybe you saw it as well. Called “A Star is Born,” it starred Bradley Cooper and Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (better known as Lady Gaga). It did pretty well at the box office and won some awards. I was very impressed that Bradley Cooper, who also directed the movie, could sing so well.

I also thought the version of “A Star is Born” that came out in 1976, starring Kris Kristofferson as the troubled music star and Barbra Streisand as the up and coming singer was pretty good. It also won some awards and did well at the box office.

When I began watching old movies on cable TV, I discovered two other versions of “A Star is Born” – one in 1954 with James Mason playing an aging movie star and Judy Garland as the actress getting her big break and the original 1937 film with Frederic March and Janet Gaynor as the star-crossed couple.

Each version has its own charms, but the essence of the story is the same. Can love outweigh the high personal cost of fame and success? Spoiler alert: the men can’t handle it, the women overcome because they have no other choice.

“A Star is Born” (2018) was made because Lady Gaga has some acting skills. Is she a Barbara Streisand? Your answer depends on your age, in my opinion. Is Barbara Streisand a Judy Garland? Is Streisand a Janet Gaynor, the person who originated the role? Tougher questions.

If you have seen any of the versions of “A Star is Born” track down the ones you haven’t seen and give them a whirl. It is fun to see where they are the same, where they are different and how they are shaped by the time period of the production.

Remakes get done because there is a large financial risk in making a movie. Some of that risk is mitigated if a successful movie can be remade to an audience that hasn’t seen it before as well as others who may have enjoyed the earlier version(s). It’s the same strategy used for all of the sequels Hollywood cranks out.

I guess it’s a sign of my age that I even know there have been four versions of “A Star is Born.” I can find something to like about each version.

What I dislike about this trend is the lack of vision and aversion of risk taken by entertainment executives. True art can inspire generations, true courage is green lighting projects that push boundaries.

There are so many good stories out there and many talented artists. I hope more risks can be taken to bring some of these tales to life.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading; I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.