Everywhere you look, there’s an ad for A Star Is Born, a new telling of a bad romance, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Stephen Colbert has been gushing about it like it’s the best thing he’s ever seen.
I don’t need to be sold on it to see it. It’s a sentimental favorite. The 1976 version of A Star Is Born was etched on my memory at age 18. Although I don’t actually remember it that well, and I get it mixed up with The Way We Were (“Hubbell!”), I guess what I remember is that it made a big impression on me. I still love tragic love stories.
To get ready for the new A Star Is Born, I watched the 1976 version again, for the first time since I saw it at the Six West Cinema in Omaha. (I rented it on Amazon.)
Time travel! I’m not sure this version has aged well, but it’s fun to watch. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest, don’t read Vincent Canby’s review until after you’ve watched it. But then do read it, because it’s funny and interesting, and because they don’t write movie reviews like that anymore.
Speaking of time travel: in my search for A Star Is Born, I came across Barbra Streisand: A Happening in Central Park, on Netflix. This is a film of a televised outdoor concert in which Streisand performed for 150,000 people on a summer night in 1967. The program was standards, corny novelty tunes, and of course, “People.” She stood on a bare stage and sang, in beautiful, windblown dresses. (And two different hairdos that the wind didn’t budge.) The shots of the audience are incredible; they all knew the words to “Second-Hand Rose.” It was over fifty years ago, and there are kids in the audience the age I was then.
I’m pretty confident that Cooper and Gaga’s new A Star Is Born will surpass the 1976 version, but it sure was fun to see it again.