A STAR IS BORN
1954, Warner Bros., 170 min, USA, Dir: George Cukor

Alcoholic failing star Norman Maine (James Mason) discovers and marries rising matinee idol songbird Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland) in director George Cukor’s emotionally incandescent remake of William Wellman’s 1937 version. Fueled by Garland’s terrifying vulnerability, Cukor’s flawless direction, a superb script by Moss Hart and production design by Gene Allen (MY FAIR LADY) that brilliantly evokes Hollywood wealth and power, A STAR IS BORN is an amazing synthesis of on-screen drama, music and behind-the-scenes myth.


MANHATTAN MELODRAMA
1934, Warner Bros., 93 min, USA, Dir: W.S. Van Dyke, George Cukor (uncredited)

Hard gambler and racketeer Edward "Blackie" Gallagher (Clark Gable) and bookish district attorney and would-be governor Jim Wade (William Powell) have been lifelong friends, brought together by their both being orphans. When Blackie's girlfriend, Eleanor (Myrna Loy), leaves him for the more sensible Jim, there are no ill feelings between the friends, but when Blackie kills the D.A. running opposite Jim for the election of governor, Jim must face the most difficult case of his career: convicting his best friend of murder. The first of 14 onscreen pairings between Loy and Powell, and made in the same year as their most famous film, THE THIN MAN. Look for Mickey Rooney in one of his earliest roles, playing Blackie as a child. MANHATTAN MELODRAMA has become infamous as the last film seen by gangster John Dillinger before he was gunned down leaving Chicago's Biograph Theater.


ADAM'S RIB
1949, Warner Bros., 101 min, USA, Dir: George Cukor

"It’s the hilarious answer to who wears the pants!" The sixth pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy is arguably their funniest, with the two playing happily married attorneys whose domestic bliss is spoiled when they wind up squaring off in court over a woman accused of murdering her husband. Terrific, sharp-tongued script by the real-life husband-wife team of Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin.


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