With Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper starring in the fourth (yes, fourth) version of A Star Is Born, I decided to look back at all the previous stars who've been born, to try and figure out why this story is simultaneously so timeless and so in need of constant updates. (Spoilers are coming, but these films are between 42 and 81 years old, so...)
A Star Is Born (1937)
Starring: A bunch of people you're too young to have heard of.
Story: Naive, skinny-eyebrowed poor person, Esther Blodgett, uses her granny's savings to run off to Hollywood to be in pictures. After drinking massive White Russians for a while, she gets a waitressing job. One night at work, she meets movie star and raging alcoholic, Norman Maine, who relentlessly hits on her in front of his date, then drunk-drives her home. (The 1930s, everyone!) Thanks to Norman's connections, Esther gets a studio contract, a makeover and a new name (Vicki Lester). Fame, fortune and wedding bells follow, but as Esther's star rises, Norman's plummets. In the middle of Esther accepting an Academy Award, Norman does a stage invasion, basically shouts "I'ma let you finish, but..." then literally backhands her in the face. After a stint in a sanitarium, Norman goes on a bender and gets arrested for being drunk and disorderly. A judge releases him into Esther's custody, and she decides to give up her career to take care of him. In a fit of guilt, Norman tells Esther he's going out for some exercise, then promptly drowns himself in the ocean. Then Granny shows up and guilt trips Esther until she agrees to keep being a movie star. Esther introduces herself at her next premiere as "Mrs. Norman Maine" and the crowd goes wild.
This version exists because: Rags to riches! Wish fulfillment! People who are really ridiculously good-looking! Romance! Comedy! Tragedy! This story has everything...except, rather crucially, music, which, with hindsight, was a massive oversight.