6.5/10
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69 user 12 critic

Star! (1968)

A musical biography of Gertrude Lawrence, who led a hustling and bustling life on the stage.

Director:

Robert Wise
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Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Julie Andrews ... Gertrude Lawrence
Richard Crenna ... Richard Aldrich
Michael Craig ... Sir Anthony Spencer
Daniel Massey ... Noël Coward
Robert Reed ... Charles Fraser
Bruce Forsyth ... Arthur Lawrence
Beryl Reid ... Rose
John Collin John Collin ... Jack Roper
Alan Oppenheimer ... Andre Charlot
Richard Karlan Richard Karlan ... David Holtzmann
Lynley Laurence Lynley Laurence ... Billie Carleton
Garrett Lewis Garrett Lewis ... Jack Buchanan
Anthony Eisley ... Ben Mitchell
Jock Livingston Jock Livingston ... Alexander Woollcott
J. Pat O'Malley ... Dan
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Storyline

Film based on life of actress Gertrude Lawrence, on- and offstage, takes the opportunity to feature extravagant musical production numbers with 'Julie Andrews' , acting, singing and dancing. Written by Stewart M. Clamen <clamen@cs.cmu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Love Affair of the Century - Between a Woman, and the World! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

22 October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Those Were the Happy Times See more »

Filming Locations:

Dennis, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (edited)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track | Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Julie Andrews and Gertrude Lawrence have much in common: both were born in London; performed in music hall as children; and became box office stars after their first American shows. See more »

Goofs

In the number "Burlington Bertie" the banana skin thrown onstage by Gertie disappears. See more »

Quotes

Noel Coward: Close personal relationships are bloody difficult, my darling but they do get easier with time. Loneliness gets harder.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The only credits seen at the beginning of the film are those for a fictional black-and-white short subject about Gertrude Lawrence. The film's real credits all appear at the end. However, the Twentieth-Century Fox logo is shown only in black-and-white, and with tinny 1940's-style sound recording, as part of that fictional newsreel. We never see the logo in color and stereophonic sound, although Twentieth-Century Fox released "Star!" See more »

Alternate Versions

When business didn't meet expectations, the studio suggested some shortening, and Robert Wise offered about 20 minutes of cuts that were literally scissored out of the prints while the film played to initial reserved seat audiences. The studio also tried revamping the ads to appeal to a younger audience, even including a shot of Julie posing with a motorcycle that was just an on-location joke and not a scene in the film. Another idea was to make up a couple print ads that tried to make the movie look like a soap opera, adding "Loves Of A..." to the title. The "Loves Of A Star!" ads were only tested briefly in a few papers, and never used widely. This prompted a politely shocked letter from Robert Wise to the studio, who sheepishly admitted it was a desperate attempt that failed. That title was never put on the actual film. In the spring of 1969, the studio withdrew the film from release entirely and decided on a drastic edit and total new identity. After removing many of the musical numbers and preparing new ads that deliberately made the picture look like The Sound of Music, a two-hour version was released under the title "Those Were the Happy Times". At his own request, The credit "A Robert Wise Film" is not present on this version. The short version did no business. See more »

Connections

References Lady in the Dark (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould
Heard during the montage of the public speakers and rallies
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's Entertainment
8 July 2007 | by Igenlode WordsmithSee all my reviews

This film shares with most biographical pictures the problematic necessity of covering large portions of its subject's life very quickly, and hence an inherent sense of 'cantering through the highlights' without the luxury of developing in detail any given relationship or scene, whereas a similar story created as pure fiction would be more likely to cover a few days, months or at most years in a single dramatic arc. In the case of a musical biography, you have in addition the problem that sank the Judy Garland version of "A Star is Born" -- with big production numbers added into the running time, you either end up with an unwieldy length of film, or the temptation to cut down on character and plot in preserving the showpiece display. The traditional stage or screen musical can use its sung-through big act finales to advance the action; the performer's biography -- unless life conveniently mirrors repertoire -- doesn't enjoy that option. I saw the uncut version (well over three hours), but I wasn't surprised to learn that the ambitiously-titled "Star!", like "A Star is Born", suffered a drastically shortened re-release. I can't imagine, however, that it can have been an improvement. Even at its uncut length, the film already comes across as a cursory skate over events...

The framing device used is that of Miss Lawrence previewing a sepia-toned retrospective of her own career, with increasingly frequent widescreen colour interruptions supposed to represent reality versus publicity gloss. It isn't entirely satisfactory, but then few framing devices are.

A succession of choreographed songs in what amounts to a Greatest Hits parade is the principal reason for sitting through -- and doubtless for making -- the film, and Julie Andrews belts out the numbers to good effect. She does, oddly, funk the high note towards the end of "Some Day I'll Find You", an omission all too obvious in such an iconic and familiar number; leaving one to speculate that perhaps it was the pianissimo delivery she couldn't manage {Edit: apparently Gertrude Lawrence couldn't manage the original - presumably this was done in aid of authenticity}. Daniel Massey gets all the best lines as composer and wit Noel Coward, and makes the most of them, rather stealing the show. (He is also aided in this by the way that Coward is depicted as a rather more sympathetic character than the brittle, driven heroine!)

In its format, the film reminded me somewhat of 1992's "Chaplin". but its evocation of place and period is nowhere near as convincing. The big production numbers are suitably impressive, but the sketchy acting opportunities and episodic plot -- not to mention the sheer length! -- make the experience more reminiscent of watching back-to-back editions of "That's Entertainment"; on balance I'd recommend the film, but I'd recommend it largely on that basis. It does have its moments, mainly towards the middle where it's more chronologically coherent, but it's mainly worth watching as spectacle.


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