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There is an expression for movies like "The Star" - maudlin pap. Yet, like only Bette Davis can do, she brings a verve, a ferocity, a sheer force of acting - yes, even over acting - that make what might normally be a merely eye-rolling film in to a spectacle.
In this outing, Davis is a washed up Academy Award winning actress who has blown it all. She then proceed to totally hit rock bottom as she goes on a bender and winds up in the clink. Sterling Hayden, an old co-star who still carries a torch for Davis, bails her out and tries to set her on the right path. But, no, Bette has to keep digging the hole she's in even deeper so she can go even lower. Her watching her screen test is fantastic! All this until she finally realizes true love is there right in front of her.
The story is preposterous. Davis' acting is hammy and overwrought. Yet, the whole production is so banal it's like watching a marshmallow disintegrate in a cup of hot cocoa. Yet, there are so many great Bette Davis moments such as when she tears in to her sister and brother-in-law and when she's a sales lady and goes at with two old biddies. The movie is worth it just to watch Bette tear it up.
"The Star" is not a very good movie. That is, unless you're a big Bette Davis fan - then it will be right up your alley.
a 6.0/10, my review: http://wp.me/p1eXom-2oz
gr8 cast and Davis just chews up the scenery and anyone with it just rewatched and i still love this pic i can say whole chunks of dialog just a camp classic
What's interesting about this movie is that it was first offered to Joan Crawford who turned it down flat. At the same time, "Sudden Fear" was presented to Davis, who didn't like the script. Davis also turned down "Come Back, Little Sheba". Well, guess what? Davis accepted "The Star", Joan accepted "Sudden Fear" and Shirley Booth got the chance to repeat her stage success in "Sheba" and all three got nominated for the Best Actress Oscar in 1952... 'C'mon Oscar, let's you and me go get drunk'--'The Star' gives Bette Davis a chance to tear up the screen as a one-time Hollywood legend who's forced to watch her youth and career slowly fade away... Bette Davis Takes a Bender!!
It's one humiliation after another for Bette Davis as an aging star who finds herself dumped by Hollywood. Of course, it drives her over-the-top and, as we all know, Davis excelled at over-the-top. In fact, there are possible glimpses of her eventual slide into grotesqueries here - but then again she _was_ nominated for an Academy Award for this performance. Shot on location around LA and feeling rather low budget, the film offers yet another look behind the scenes at the movie industry - as in the Bad and the Beautiful (also 1952), it doesn't look healthy. Moreover, some aspects of the script have clearly been fashioned after Davis's own career, particularly her tendency to buck the studio to demand stronger roles. Sterling Hayden offers her the support she needs, albeit woodenly.
Bette Davis tries to recapture former glory but ultimately comes up short in this comeback film. Underwhelming.
Not the best form Bette but she still added power and emotion. The story was OK but it should have used more of its tragic aspects to allow Bette to shine more.
Bette Davis appeared in this film a year after making something of a comeback in "All About Eve" which is ironic since since this film is about a washed up actress clinging to her fame and desperately trying to get back into film. It's high melodrama for sure, but pretty fun for a few reasons. Davis supposedly felt the film was based on rival Joan Crawford, so she sprinkles the film with a few Crawford-isms. You also get Sterling Hayden on a sailboat, which is fun to see since this was a real-life passion of Hayden's. And best of all is a scene were a 40-something Davis does a screen test trying to act like a flirtatious 20 year old, but it's when she sits alone in a screening room and sees her performance that the film goes into high gear melodrama. It's not a very deep film, but it's pretty entertaining.
Bette Davis's 10th Oscar nomination for Best Actress came in 1952 for "The Star," when, incidentally, Joan Crawford was also nominated (for "Sudden Fear"). Both lost to Shirley Booth, for "Come Back, Little Sheba."
"The Star" is not a great film by any stretch, but it's a good one. It tells the story of a movie star terrified of losing her stardom after turning 40. Melodramas like this helped build a myth that women could never work in Hollywood after 40. This was just a melodrama, but the country started believing it -- even though there was plenty of evidence to the contrary. In a strange way, people the world over started equating the character in this movie with Davis herself, believing the melodrama.
Melodramas like "The Star" were so good that much of the country (and even the world) took them for reality. Weirdly, I think "The Star" helped bring Davis's screen career to an end because audiences couldn't differentiate between Davis and the character she was playing! It may not be a great film, but it's a superb melodrama -- so good that I think a large segment of the American public couldn't shake it from their consciousness. Davis and other middle-aged actresses (such as Crawford) would never be able to shake the association of themselves with the lead character in "The Star." This movie helped build a mythos that is still powerfully alive.
One could say that "The Star," a silly melodrama, killed the careers of middle-aged actresses for decades because it so effectively presented women of a certain age as over the hill. A classic case of American culture confusing movies with reality. Life imitating movies.
I felt this was off the mark on a few levels. The romantic appeal of Davis and Sterling Hayden eluded me. I thought it was a scaled down "Sunset Boulevard". Still enjoy a Bette Davis film.