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 was removed. The scenes, which included three musical numbers and dramatic exchanges between Garland and James Mason, were believed to be completely destroyed.

Interestingly, Cukor had second thoughts about the movie’s length before its release.

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 cuts happened, director Cukor was out of the country. He fiercely disagreed with the decision afterward, along with Sidney Luft and Garland.

“It was edited brutally, stupidly and arbitrarily, and 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.”

A restored version was created in the 1980s using recovered sound, music, and production stills from the studio’s vault. The project was endorsed by Cukor, but he unfortunately died before it was complete.

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