Film star Norman Maine helps young singer and actress Esther Blodgett become a star Vicki Lester, whilst he destroys his own career due to alcoholism that he cannot control. But the love they share is really something special.
Esther is thrust into the spotlight when Norman Maine helps her career after stumbling across her singing “The Man That Got Away” which really is an amazing moment and he cannot stop thinking about her. Trying to track her down and offer her a life changing chance.
She is then transformed into Vicki Lester, she what they did with Esther? I thought that was quite a good move really. This is certainly the perfect role for Judy Garland and I really do think we get to see her at her best ever in this film. Being able to combine her acting talents with some showstopper musical numbers and really owning it. Combining that with the ever charming James Mason really does propel this film, making it have that little bit of everything. The chemistry between the pair is very high and it makes for one of my all time favourite love stories no matter how tragic it is in the end.
Norman struggling with his career and manages to embarrass his wife whilst winning an Academy Award really is the beginning of the end, as he cannot hurt her anymore and must think about what he can do to push on and help the woman he loves, with truly upsetting and dramatic circumstances. It rips my heart out each and every time. Especially how that all builds up to the final scene and very choked up last line, seriously if you are not crying by the end of this one you really need to assess how cold your heart is! The best thing was I had no idea about the ending on my first viewing and that meant ugly crying/sobbing!
I was actually shocked with myself that I had never actually reviewed this film before considering I class it as one of my favourites and have done for many years now, maybe I just always thought I had reviewed it before? Especially considering that it has featured in many different blog posts over the years. Mainly because of the truly showstopper song “The Man That Got Away” which really is so iconic that I gush about it so often.
This is the second version of the story from the 1937 film, but this is the first musical/music based version. I cannot even remember the first time I actually watched it or how I even came across it. But I am very pleased that I did and have had this film as a favourite for so long. Garland at her showstopper best, a tragic love story and some great musical numbers what more could you possibly want and need in a film?