(1976)

For anyone who has ever loved...

Drunken, has-been rock star John Norman Howard falls in love with unknown singer, Esther Hoffman, after seeing her perform at a club. He lets her sing a few songs at one of his shows and she becomes the talk of the music industry. Esther's star begins to rise, while John's continues to fall. She tries desperately to get John to sober up and focus on his music, but it may be too late to save him.

_**Well done 70’s rock lifestyle film, but needs better songs**_
A big time rock star is self-destructing on the lifestyle (Kris Kristofferson) when he inadvertently meets a talented smalltime singer (Barbra Streisand) and becomes her “golden connection” to stardom. Gary Busey is on hand as the former’s manager.
"A Star is Born" (1976) is a drama/romance/musical focusing on the 70’s rock star lifestyle, which differentiates it from the two classic versions from 1937 and 1954. It’s similar to the later “The Rose” (1979), but I prefer this one. “Oh, God! You Devil” (1984) is another good comparison, despite the paranormal elements, and I slightly prefer that one.
Kris Kristofferson is effective as the stud rock star in the manner of, say, Lindsey Buckingham in the 70s. He’s not the best singer but, then again, Bob Dylan wasn’t either (of course, he’s still alive as of this writing).
Meanwhile Barbra never looked better, especially in her white Superman outfit in the desert. She’s a great singer, but none of the songs in the movie stir me much. At least Cher had great songs in the 70s, not to mention Fleetwood Mac. That’s what this movie needs, better songs, especially since so much time is devoted to Barbra performing. At the same time, the songs are certainly serviceable.
The best part of the movie, for me, is the dynamic opening act. It then bogs down with the love story, but I appreciated the unexpected desert sequences. The ending is, um, I can’t give it away.
The film runs 2 hours, 19 minutes, and was shot in Arizona and Warner Brothers Studios, Burbank, California.
GRADE: B-/B

Barwood Films, Warner Bros. Pictures by Frank Pierson, John Gregory Dunne, Joan Didion.
Stars: Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, Gary Busey.

Genres: Drama, Music, Romance

Keywords: rock star romance fame

12/17/1976

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