(Review originally written at 9 April 2010)
The movie started off so well and original. I was ready to praise this movie for having an original story in which the two main characters for a change did not fall in love with each other. For a long time the movie seemed to be one about an old, once popular, big Hollywood-star, finding a new protégé and talent, which he trains and gets ready for the show business, without falling into the temptations- and make the mistakes he made. He passes on the torch so to speak and uses his old connection to launch her to stardom. However then for some reason the two suddenly decide on getting married and the movie becomes far less original and refreshing from that point on.
I'm actually quite fond of Hollywood movies being set in actual Hollywood. I like them because they often show us how far from perfect this world is and how it's much less glamorous as it seems from the outside. Till some extend this movie does still handles these themes well enough. It still all gives you the feeling that they could had gone a bit further with it all and make the movie more dramatic and powerful with those elements rather than all of the usual lovers-clichés.
It's also quite a long watch obviously. About halve an hour got cut at the time of its original release by the studios but now days the full and reconstructed version can be watch again. However not all of the footage was still around so some of the gaps are being filled up with photographs that got shot during production and the sound-track of the movie. A nice way to show the movie as it original was intended by director George Cukor but still, nearly 3 hours is a long sit for a movie of this type.
Still, the movie as a mixture of a musical and full-blood drama can be seen as a successful one. It combines the two different genres quite well and uses some of the best elements of both worlds. It's the reason why the movie still works out as a good one and one that has received plenty of praise throughout the years.
I also liked James Mason in this movie but I'm not really sure if this is due to his accent or his acting skills. I wasn't too fond of Judy Garland, who never looked or acted like a big star in this movie, even though her character was really supposed to. In some of the dramatic sequences she was even overacting but despite this all, people still consider this to be her best role. Well, guess that just doesn't make me a big Judy Garland fan, though I've still liked him in some other big movie roles.
The movie should also really deserve credit for how it looks. This movie just got made for the widescreen. It has some perfectly set up shots and also some nice bright color use, which is suitable for its genre. It was actually the first musical movie that George Cukor directed and he would go on directing some more later on during his career, including the classic "My Fair Lady", starring Audrey Hepburn.
I really loved the movie its first halve but was disappointed with its more cliché ridden and predictable drama filled second halve.