Saving a Star Is Born

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After its release in 1954, A Star Is Born was edited against the wishes of director George Cukor and Judy Garland.

Some reviews complained that the musical was too long, and studio executive, Harry Warner, feared that theater exhibitors would disapprove. As a result, he ordered that the film be cut, and approximately thirty minutes of content was removed, including three musical numbers. 

Interestingly, before the film was even released, Cukor had second thoughts about the runtime himself.

He said, “I knew when I had finished it that it was too long. I suggested to the studio that I could sweat out 20 minutes here and there without it ever being missed. But the studio said, no, they'd release the full film.”

Of course, he didn’t know the studio would change their mind.

When the unauthorized cuts happened, director Cukor was out of the country. However, when he found out, he joined Sidney Luft and Judy Garland in protesting the changes.

“It was edited brutally, stupidly, and arbitrarily. Many of Garland's finest moments were taken out,” Cukor said.

“Judy Garland gave a brilliant performance, marred only by the way in which the picture was cut by the studio… I’m convinced that it cost Judy the Academy Award.”

It was believed that the footage removed from the original edit was destroyed and lost forever. However, in the 1980s, some of the deletions were discovered in the studio's vault. As a result, a restored version of the film was created using recovered audio, music, and production stills. The project was endorsed by Cukor, but he unfortunately died before it was completed. Below are some examples of the stills that were added.

MOVIES! Network proudly airs this restored version so that audiences can enjoy these exclusive moments with Judy in the way they were originally intended.