A Star Is Born

Director: William A. Wellman
Year Released: 1937
Rating: 3.0

Wide-eyed dreamer (Janet Gaynor) from Podunk, Nowhere has a head full of movies, so she takes the bus to Hollywood with the intention of making it big ... the only thing is, she actually does after some initial "hardships" and a few chance encounters with a famous drunk (Fredric March) who is basically John Barrymore but with a slightly larger forehead. Many consider Cukor's 1954 remake to be the superior version, but this Wellman production is impressive, guided along by March's childish, self-destructive behavior (and those pitiable eyes!) and Gaynor's absolute adoration and love: it's love that leans towards female martyrdom. Through it all, Gaynor ascends while March voluntarily sinks into the ocean - what isn't explicitly stated is that with ever-so-fickle Hollywood, "Mrs. Norman Maine" might sink into despair if/when the public falls out of favor.