Cover Image: A Star Is Born

A Star Is Born

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I would basically read anything that's written about Judy Garland - and this one is partly written by her daughter, Lorna Luft - so I was sold from the getgo! Garland's life is absolutely fascinating but it's even more heartwrenching and honest when told from her daughter's perspective. Her previous book, "Me and My Shadows," was released in the 1990s, so this was a great way for Garland's story to be updated and reflected upon by someone who knew her best (and with a current, more relevant lens). Luft describes the huge amount of work that went into making the remarkable 1954 film, "A Star is Born." There are lots of interesting tidbits about the filmmaking process and how Garland approached the material (which in retrospect would have been very relatable to her as an addict). I loved finding out more about Garland's efforts to make this film a comeback vehicle for herself (after having been branded difficult to work with) and the lengths she went to in order to produce a masterpiece that's still celebrated by film buffs today. My only qualm with the book was the inclusion of a lot of detail about the previous and future "Star is Born" films - I wasn't as interested in those passages as I was about the Garland ones. And the writing style by the co-author seemed way too different and jarring compared to Luft's. I'm so glad that Luft is keeping her mother's legendary status alive and is presenting her story with more compassion in light of what we know today about addiction and mental health. Now I'm off to watch "A Star is Born"!
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While it's an interesting look into Judy Garland, I find it to be a bit boring overall. The writing is mostly okay but it didn't retain my interest very well. That said, I did enjoy reading about Judy Garland. I confess that I don't know much about her but this definitely makes me want to look into her more.
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I'm a big fan of Judy Garland and, of course, A Star is Born. However, this book just couldn't hold my attention, and I ended up DNF-ing at 40%. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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I love judy garland and this was an eye opener. What she went through. Hollywood is a tough game. I will look at the world of acting in a different light now
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I Loved this book.  I was a huge fan of the film too. I’m also a big Judy Garland fan.  Thank you NetGalley & the publisher for the opportunity to review this book by Lorna Luft and Jeffrey Vance.  It was so  informative and is a must read for Judy Garland fans and fans of the film A Star is Born.   I will not give any spoilers. If you are a classic film buff like I am, plus the Judy Garland fan, I hope you take the opportunity to read this book. Such an excellent read!
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Wow! Excellently written and very, very informative! I highly recommend this book for all of Judy Garland fans!
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I have loved Judy Garland since I first saw her in Meet Me in St Louis as a young child. I love her voice and I find her life so tragic. I've seen Liza Minelli and Lorna Luft in concert too. This book is a very detailed and beautifully illustrated book concerning the making of the film A Star is Born. It is a further tragedy that the original film was cut to shreds before it was finally released. This books is for all Judy fans as well as film buffs. I really enjoyed it and for once it seemed to be concentrating on Garland's artistry and talent instead of all the tragedies that befell her.
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A Star is Born by Lorna Luft is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early September.

Up until the time that I began reading this book, I hadn't yet realized that this book's publishing might coincide with the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper film remake. Anywho, Luft shines a greater mirror onto the Hollywood system and Garland's own life with some echoes to topics from the book/movie, Valley of the Dolls, and shares a studied, mindful, surprisingly impartial view of her mother's early life with MGM, then the reshoots and noted scenes/makeup/costumes/line readings from A Star is Born. Garland experiences mercurial highs and lows, heavy reliance on drugs and alcohol, suffers emotionally due to the fierce cuts in the film after its initial premiere, then appear in TV broadcasts, Vegas shows, and nightclub acts before her death. From there, this book documents the earlier and later incarnations of A Star is Born as reflecting the times when the movie(s) was produced and Luft herself being reunited with her mother through its subsequent viewings and rereleases.
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Wonderful read about Judy Garland. She's always been one of my favorite actresses. Well written book.
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A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making (and unmaking) of the film, how it affected Judy Garland’s career and life, and the restoration and rebirth of A Star is Born. If you haven’t already seen the restored version of this classic, you’ll definitely want to after reading this. 

Lorna Luft writes about the great responsibility she feels toward her mother’s legacy, and with this book, I feel she has done that legacy justice.
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This book is an interesting and touching read for any fans of Judy Garland or old Hollywood, balanced between the personal perspective of Garland's daughter Lorna Luft and the analytical perspective from film historian Jeffrey Vance. It explores both Judy's life and legacy, particularly in her favorite film of her career, and the context of the various versions of A Star Is Born from 1937 through 2018. The narrative shifts between Luft and Vance could be a bit jarring, but I really enjoyed learning more about the history of this film and seeing all of the fantastic behind-the-scenes photos. I'll definitely be having an A Star Is Born movie marathon soon!
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The crowning achievement in the amazing Judy Garland's filmography gets a behind the scenes view written by her daughter Lorna Luft. "A Star is Born" is one of the greatest movies ever made but the road leading to, during and after the picture was fraught with tumultuous problems. At the center was Judy Garland, a legendary performer, whose life was a tale of loss, addiction and pain in many ways mirrored the characters in the film. The story of her mother's life is written with love, humor and honesty allowing those of us who knew Judy from her movies, TV shows and concerts to see behind the curtain. This book gave me a greater appreciation for an already much loved movie and the incredible Judy Garland and what she went through to bring the film to life. A must read for movie and Judy Garland fans alike!
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Truly a great book on one of the greatest films of all time, "A Star Is Born" by Judy Garland's daughter Lorna Luft.

In almost any Warner Brothers film or television series, something from this film is usually played (recently I saw a clip played in the movie "Twister" with Helen Hunt and 'The Man Who Got Away' was used when Lorelai and Luke reunited on 'The Gilmore Girls') because I think the studio knows this is where the magic was made.

Who can explain the phenomenon better than Turner Classic Movies who published this book for those who are as infatuated with the movie as its fans and the movie has become a staple of the network.

This book is an insider's guide unlike many others because of the maternal relationship to its author and without just simple facts and figures, it relays the emotional toll it took on Garland and its crew to make this film.  

When I first viewed the film on DVD, I was shocked by the sudden use of pictures and sound during the middle of the film, and the book covers the controversy of it well, and learned later that it was because a lot of the film was lost to archives and mishandling and that the film wasn't popular after the scenes were cut out and 'A Star Is Born' almost faded into history.  So I was glad to get the insider's reasons as to why this was done and it helped me to appreciate the restored version even more.

Other film remakes are given a few pages of explanation, including the original version before Garland's, but the true gem of the book focuses on Garland's as it should.  Other remakes may come and go but hers was more about the magic of Hollywood, the tragic story of Hollywood, the price of fame, the price of love.

And the photos are gorgeous and just make this book that much more of an item to savor and leave on a coffee table.

Thank you to TCM, Running Press, and NetGalley for early access to this title due September 18th.
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A fascinating look into the production of the famous movie. Great for old movie buffs but if you aren't familiar with the cast it might be a bit boring.
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When I saw this book, it was a must-read as I have long admired the superb talent that was the inimitable Judy Garland. That voice, those eyes that always had a glimmer of sadness in them, those dance moves - all perfection. 
This book, written in part by her middle daughter, Lorna Luft, tells the backstory of the second remaking of A Star Is Born. This movie was one that she hoped would revitalize her waning Hollywood career. 
Luft provides a plethora of previously unseen photos from the period surrounding the making of what some consider Garland's finest work. The soundtrack in this version is amazing.
This book is written in an easy-to-read manner and does give Garland's fans more insight about the film. It should be on the list of film buffs and Judy Garland devotees.
I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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I’m a big classic movie fan and I love Judy Garland. I have never really been a big fan of A Star is Born, but I’m always interested to learn more about Judy! I did learn a lot about her, not only about the other film productions of A Star is Born, but I learned many things about Sid Luft too. It was wonderful to again read Lorna Luft’s words about her mama; she’s great at providing objective insight and details that the public didn’t know. If you’re a classic movie fan or a Judy Garland fan, then this book is a can’t miss, get a copy!
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George Cukor, the director of ‘A Star is Born’ opined that “Neither the human mind nor the human ass can stand three and a half hours of concentration.” He wanted cuts to the film, which originally ran for 196 minutes but not the cuts which the studio initially made, which brought the running time down at considerable cost to the coherence, pace and balance of the story. 
Ford’s ‘The Red Badge of Courage’; Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’; Peckinpah’s ‘Major Dundee’; Leone’s ‘Once Upon a Time in America’; Gilliam’s ‘Brazil’; Welles’s ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ and ‘Touch of Evil’ - the history of cinema is littered with instances of the creatives suffering death by a thousand cuts at the hands of the philistine money men. The cuts made to ‘A Star is Born’ seem particularly egregious, however, as the reception accorded the original in preview was so positive; because the film when cut failed to win any of the Oscars for which it was nominated; and because instead of marking Judy Garland’s triumphant Hollywood comeback after four years without a film (following MGM’s cancellation of her contract), its rebuff by the Academy and commercial failure led to the cancellation of her production company’s multipicture deal with Warner Bros.
‘A Star is Born’, which had premiered at 181 minutes but then been cut to 154 for wide release was restored, in 1983, to 176 minutes but at various points this merely comprises the soundtrack over stills as some footage was irretrievably lost, or rather destroyed, thereby augmenting rather than diminishing the film’s status as a flawed masterpiece.
The behind-the-scenes story of the film, placing it in the context of the movies which inspired it and the remakes it has inspired (although obviously not much was known at the time of writing about the Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga version), is told with considerable insight and candour by film historian Jeffrey Vance and Lorna Luft.
Luft is one of Judy Garland’s two children by her marriage to Sidney Luft, who produced ‘A Star is Born’, hence the book’s subtitle ‘Judy Garland and the Film that Got Away’. By far the biggest casualty of this familial focus is James Mason, for although the film was designed to showcase Garland’s talents, his Oscar-nominated performance as Norman Maine is one of the very best things about it and his contribution simply does not receive anything like the attention it deserves. 
On the other hand, many of the superb photographs which illustrate the book come from Luft’s personal collection and she deserves praise for pulling few, if any, punches in writing about her mother; defending her from the charge of being solely responsible for the filming taking so long (10 months) and going massively over budget (finally costing twice the initial figure of $3,000,000) yet willing to acknowledge that “Mama identified with both main characters [as] a great … talent brought low by addiction, self-loathing, and self-destruction”, and even quoting Cukor saying of Garland (in a letter to Katharine Hepburn) that “there is an arrogance and a ruthless selfishness that eventually alienates one’s sympathy.” She also admits that the Lufts themselves were partly culpable for the final film not fully living up to expectations because they holidayed in Europe when at least one of them should have stayed Stateside to supervise the editing.
The book is full of interesting tidbits of information. For example, the fact that the twelve-minute ‘Born in a Trunk’ number was added (at a cost of $250,000) so late in the proceedings that Cukor and the original production team had already moved on to other projects. It also reveals that the Lufts originally courted Cary Grant to play Norman Maine. Other approved actors included Olivier, Burton, Tyrone Power, James Stewart, Gregory Peck, Ray Milland, Stewart Granger, Robert Taylor and Glenn Ford. Bogart and Sinatra were considered. Brando declined. He was also considered for the 1976 remake to star opposite Barbara Streisand (the part eventually going to Kris Kristofferson).
As well as failing to pay due regard to James Mason, the book also suffers from a rather loose structure which results in occasional repetition. Thus, for example, we’re twice told that the beach house set furnishings for the ‘Someone at Last’ number ended up in the Lufts’ home, just as we’re twice told that ‘A Star is Born’ was Cukor’s first musical, first colour film and first in widescreen.
Nevertheless, the many pleasures of this book far outweigh the occasional annoyances and make it a thoroughly enjoyable and worthwhile read for anyone interested in Judy Garland, musicals, or Hollywood.
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A STAR IS BORN is a stunning recounting of the movie that brought legend Judy Garland her greatest achievement ... and her most profound loss. Co-written by her daughter, Lorna Luft, with film historian Jeffrey Vance, this absorbing read describes all film versions, giving especial focus to the 1954 release with Judy and James Mason, produced by Judy’s husband and Lorna’s father, Sid Luft.  

The gripping narrative describes Judy’s fight to salvage her reputation after the film — too long for accepted Hollywood tastes — was butchered in editing, destroying its quality and leading to a devastating Oscar loss for the star. Today, a director’s version has been recreated from previously lost footage and audio, allowing the movie to take its rightful place among the greatest films of all time. Wonderful photos from the family’s collection, from on and off the set, give an intimate touch to the Garland story. Highly recommended!

Thanks to Perseus Books, Running Press and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine.

#AStarIsBorn(turnerClassicMovies) #NetGalley
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As one who grew up watching The Wizard of Oz every year during its annual television showing, I was interested in reading the book.  I am a casual Judy Garland fan and have seen several movies about her life.  While this book was a fine effort by one of her daughters, it just felt too long to me.  At times, I thought that the book was reaching its conclusion, only to find that it had started up again, often in a different direction.  I was unsure as to why some information, for example, the chapter about Barbra Streisand's version of the movie, was included in the book.  While interesting, I believe that the book's focus should have remained on Judy Garland.  However, I understand that the movie, A Star Is Born, was a main character of the book.

The book required editing.  I enjoyed the inclusion of all the old photographs.  I wish there were more in the book.
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A Star is Born, by Lorna Luft and Jeffrey Vance, analyzes all the movie versions of this story, but the book is primarily about the 1954 film directed by George Cukor, starring Judy Garland and James Mason and produced by Judy Garland's husband and Lorna Luft's father, Sid Luft.

This movie is called "the Film that Got Away" because, according to the authors of the book, that even though the film was a hit with audiences,it was cut to the point where it didn't make sense to squeeze in more showings per day. And Judy Garland got blamed for the fiasco.

There have always been fans and critics who preferred the version released in 1937, directed by William Wellman and starring Fredric March and Janet Gaynor. I always liked the way Wellman's film tied the settlement of the West into a movie about movie stars on the verge of the second world war.

The character of the movie star's grandmother, who tells her granddaughter what it was like to travel in a covered wagon, is by the end of the movie the most modern character in the story, addressing a radio audience in a mink at a movie premiere.

This book is also fun for those who like the seventies version starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. Neil Diamond was considered for the role, but instead he did his own remake of The Jazz Singer in 1980.

(Thanks to NetGalley and Running Press for a digital review copy.)
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