Cinema: The New Pictures, Oct. 25, 1954

. A Star Is Born (Transcona; Warner) is a massive effort, unreeling ponderously for three hours and two minutes, to convert the Hollywood legend into something like Wagnerian musicomedy. The producers assumed astonishing risks. The story and the title were borrowed from a famed old Academy Award winner (1937) that has been shown to death on television in recent years. Furthermore, the star, Judy Garland, was a 32-year-old has-been, as infamous for temperament as she is famous for talent.

What's more, all the producers' worst dreams came true. Day after day, while the...

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