The 2017 Reel Film Festival: A STAR IS BORN

Musicals on 35mm Film: Garland, Astaire, and Minnelli

The three films in the Reel Film Fest are among the greatest cinematic musicals of all time, and are linked by two stars and a director. Vincente Minnelli directed The Band Wagon (1953, starring Fred Astaire). His daughter Liza Minnelli starred in Cabaret (1972), and her mother, Judy Garland, was the showstopper in A Star is Born (1954).

The Reel Film Fest offers an opportunity to see these films as they were originally meant to be viewed -- on 35mm film projected on the silver screen! The Strand is one of only a few theaters in the region that can offer the rich viewing experience that 35mm film projection offers; most theaters now use only digital projection.

The 1954 musical remake of A Star is Born represented the triumphal return to the screen of Judy Garland after a four-year absence. The remake adheres closely to the plotline of the 1937 original: An alcoholic film star, on his last professional legs, gives a career boost to a unknown aspiring actress. The two marry, whereupon her fame and fortune rises while his spirals sharply downward. Unable to accept this, the male star crawls deeper into the bottle. The wife tearfully decides to give up her own career to care for her husband. To spare her this fate, the husband chivalrously commits suicide. His wife is inconsolable at first, but is urged to go "on with the show" in memory of her late husband.

What truly sets the 1954 A STAR IS BORN apart from other films of its ilk is its magnificent musical score by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin. The songs include "The Man Who Got Away" (brilliantly performed by Garland in one long take, sans dubbing), "It's a New World,"  "Somewhere There's a Someone,"  "I Was Born in a Trunk" , "Lose That Long Face" and "Gotta Have Me Go With You."

Directed by George Cukor

Starring Judy Garland, James Mason, Jack Carson

USA | 1954 | NR | 2 h 34 min

Film prints made available courtesy of the Constellation Center Collection at the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences Film Archive

Featured Speakers:

Willard Carroll: an Emmy Award-winning producer of more than 200 hours of theatrical films and television programming. He is also a writer and director whose films include the all-star drama Playing by Heart with Sean Connery and Angelina Jolie; the romantic musical comedy Marigold starring Ali Larter and Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, filmed entirely in India; and the adaptation of Philippa Pearce’s classic English children’s novel Tom’s Midnight Garden starring Joan Plowright and Penelope Wilton. Carroll has authored three books related to The Wizard of Oz as a result of having accumulated the world’s leading Oz collection. He grew up in Easton, Maryland, and graduated from the University of Southern California.

John Fricke is a renowned pop culture historian of film and stage musicals and their creative participants. More specifically, he is widely-regarded as the world's preeminent Judy Garland and Wizard of Oz author, authority, and lecturer. His seven books on those topics have sold more than a quarter-million copies (please see below); he is currently diversifying by researching and writing "Dreaming of a White Christmas,” the pictorial history “making of…” story behind the classic 1954 Irving Berlin/Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye screen musical. Fricke is the recipient of Emmy Awards as co-producer of the PBS American Masters and A&E Biography Garland documentaries (respectively, "Judy Garland: By Myself " and "Judy: Beyond the Rainbow") and was a Grammy Award nominee for his liner notes for the Capitol CD "Judy Garland: 25th Anniversary Retrospective." He has appeared as a programmer and co-host on the Turner Classic Movies network and at their Los Angeles Film Festival; he's been interviewed on The Today Show (four times), CNN, Entertainment Tonight, The Joan Rivers Show, NPR, and Sirius Satellite Radio, among many other outlets. Fricke has lectured everywhere from The Museum of Modern Art in NYC and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles to The Deauville Film Festival in France and has recorded the commentary tracks for the DVDs of seven Garland movies: "The Wizard of Oz," "Meet Me in St. Louis,"  "Easter Parade,"  "For Me and My Gal,"  "The Pirate,"  "Babes in Arms," and "Girl Crazy." John regularly emcees the four national Oz Festivals and has been associated as an Oz and Garland spokesman/ historian with the Smithsonian Institution, Warner Bros., MGM, Turner Entertainment, the New York Film Society of Lincoln Center, and The Paley Center. He received a McCormick Scholarship to Northwestern University and holds a degree from their Medill School of Journalism.

Fricke's books include "The Wonderful World of Oz" (Down East Books, 2013), "Judy: A Legendary Film Career" (Running Press, 2011), "The Wizard of Oz: An Illustrated Companion to the Timeless Movie Classic" (Fall River Press, 2009), "Judy Garland: A Portrait in Art & Anecdote" (Bullfinch Press, 2003), "100 Years of Oz" (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1999), "Judy Garland: World’s Greatest Entertainer" (Henry Holt, 1992), and "The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History" (Warner Books, 1989).

Show Dates & Times:

6/24/17 - Saturday

2:00 pm,

$30/Festival Pass
$12/Individual screening (at the door)

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