Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Star Is Born & Born Again: Variations on a Hollywood Archetype, by James Stratton

 I'm a sucker for books about the filmmaking process. I guess that extends to films that I haven't even seen, and really had little interest in seeing.
 I'm fairly certain that I saw at least one, and possibly two, iterations of A STAR IS BORN when I was growing up in The Bronx. Old movies on channel 9 and channel 11 were staples on weekend visits to my grandparent's house, and those weekend films, especially back in those pre-cable days, made quite an impression on me.

 James Stratton's book covers four different versions of A STAR IS BORN, giving blow-by-blow plot details as well as offering behind-the-scenes tidbits and criticism. Probably the greatest compliment that I can give Stratton's book is that it made me want to run out and watch these films.....I'm keeping my eyes on TCM's listings for any version.

 Stratton's style is scholarly but informal, and he really makes these films come alive. I especially enjoyed reading his take on the Barbara Streisand/Kris Kristofferson version, which seems to have been a massive egostroke by Streisand and her lover Jon Peters. Kristofferson comes out looking positively heroic for standing up to the odd couple. I had a lot of fun with this book, and it gave me a bunch of new-to-me films to be on the lookout for. It's profusely illustrated with stills from all four films, as well.

 BearManor media provided a review copy.