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STAR! - DUD OR UNDER RATED CLASSIC?


NZ

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Following Julie Andrews overwhelming critical success in Mary Poppins, then The Sound of Music, the same team of Robert Wise and Ernest Lehman went to town on crafting a tribute to the late Gertrude Lawrence with Andrews cast as this great lady of the stage.

 

Unfortunately for all concerned, the resulting project "STAR!" was a colossal box office flop. It was re-edited and re-released under another title where it faired even less well. Ultimately, the film vanished from distribution for many years and - at one point - the complete version was presumed MIA.

 

Thankfully, the opposite was true. I've seen STAR! since in its entirety and many times and frankly, don't understand why the film tanked on its initial release.

 

True - musicals were on their way out by the mid-1960s but The Sound of Music proved that the right kind of musical could still hold its own against that changing tide of realism in the movies.

 

STAR! has some marvelous moments in it and Andrews really gives Gerty Lawrence her all. Okay, so it's not in the same caliber as The Sound of Music. At least 85% of all musicals can fall into that latter catagory. But it's not a flop - not an artistic one, at least.

 

Anyway, these are my thoughts.

I'd be interested in reading yours.

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I think the musical numbers are brilliant in STAR! and that Julie Andrews gives a bravura performance, but dramatically the film doesn't quite work and as biography it's baloney. Still, the chance to see Andrews in her prime and performing some magnificent musical material is worth wading through this long film. She's a delight in the comic numbers and a knockout in the serious ones. Matching her here is Danial Massey (as Noel Coward) who won an Oscar nomination for his droll performance. The music here includes Coward, Gershwin, Porter and a few Music Hall numbers.... Super!

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