Five Fun Facts: A Star Is Born (1937)
1) Pick a number, four or five…
So how many versions of this movie are there really? Well, most classic film fans would say a definite “four”, the end of the story – that would be the 1937 film starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, the 1954 version starring Judy Garland and James Mason, the 1976 remake starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson and the latest version starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in 2018. But did you know that 1932’s What Price Hollywood? had a very similar storyline, aka the rise of a rising star and the fall of her alcoholic mentor, and that the stories were so similar that RKO nearly filed a plagiarism lawsuit?
2) Who first?
Janet Gaynor and Fredric March were each nominated for an Oscar (Best Actress and Best Actor) for this film, but did not win. However, did you know that Janet Gaynor won the first-ever Oscar for Best Actress (in 1929 for her performances in 7th Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise), and Fredric March was the first actor to ever win an Oscar for a horror film (in 1931 for his role in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde)?
And while it didn’t win, this 1937 version of the film was the first full-color film to be nominated for Best Picture.
3) Something borrowed
The Oscar that Janet Gaynor’s character receives in the film is her own Best Actress Oscar, which, as noted above, she won in 1929.
4) And the grand total is…
Overall, the four versions of A Star is Born received 25 Oscar nominations with three wins (1937 for Best Original Story, 1976 for Best Original Song “Evergreen” and 2018 for Best Original Song “Shallow”). The 1937 film also won an honorary award to W. Howard Greene for color photography (not counted in the 25 because it was not a competitive award).
5) You are my inspiration [insert name here]…
So which real life movie star couple is this movie based on? Well, I don’t know if we can really say, but some believe that the 1937 version got its inspiration from the wedding of Barbara Stanwyck and Frank Fay.
Well, those were my five facts. Would love to hear from anyone you’d like to share 🙂
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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub
You can read more Five Fun Facts blog posts here.