A Star is Born (1954)
All songs by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin except those in the Born in a Trunk medley as noted.
The videos were replaced on 11 January 2010, by a much better High Quality set thanks to MicheleBell1. Recent improvement in the images on this, and some of my other pages, is due to my learning how to use the tuning and effects modification tools of Picasa 3 editing software.
Gotta Have Me Go With You
The Man that Got Away
1 – film version
The Man that Got Away was written for the 1954 version of the movie A Star Is Born. Arlen had originally collaborated with Johnny Mercer, who wrote lyrics that began “I’ve seen Sequoia, it’s really very pretty, the art of Goya, and Rockefeller City, but since I saw you, I can’t believe my eyes.” The Gershwin Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin contains a typescript draft of the lyrics with Ira Gershwin’s handwritten changes.
The best-known recording of the song was made by Judy Garland with the Warner Bros. orchestra under the direction of Ray Heindorf using an arrangement by Skip Martin. Judy’s performance of the song in A Star is Born is unusual for being filmed in one continuous shot. Garland (as Esther Blodgett) performs the song during an after hours rehearsal session in a smoky nightclub.
The song is was photographed in three different costumes on three different occasions, in over forty different partial or complete takes. Judy Garland prerecorded the song on September 3, 1953. The number was first filmed on October 21, 1953.
Changes were made to the costume and set and the number was re-filmed on October 29th. Art director Gene Allen said, “The first time it looked as if we had painted a set to look like a bar. So to give it a slightly impressionistic look I…put a scrim between the musicians and the back bar. If you look very carefully at that scene you can see the scrim nailed down on the floor…”
Garland did 27 takes of the number over three days, both partial and complete. But according to Allen, “Cukor had her doing bits of business before the song, and all of that action didn’t really fit the song – it was just too busy. And she didn’t look good – her costume was wrinkled, it didn’t fit right.” And the color was wrong: too brown.
It was filmed for a third time in February 1954, with new hairstyle and costume and a new set. Cukor felt this time they finally got it right: “…She looks perfectly charming in a new Jean-Louis dress, and I know that this too is an enormous improvement over the way we first did it — it has fun and spirit.”- Excerpts from the wikipedia article: The Man That Got Away
Three different versions displayed simultaneously –
The video creator and provider, Julie Talen, says:
Judy Garland made three filmed versions of singing “The Man That Got Away” for a Star is Born, all of them to the same recorded version of the song. It’s the key moment in the film, when she’s discovered singing in an afterhours bar by the newly-sobered-up Norman Maine (James Mason) — and the first two versions – the bottom and middle version – made her look, apparently, too strong, too world-weary to be plausible as someone Norman Maine would call in love with on the spot and then mentor into stardom. The top version had a new dress designed by Edith Head, with a school-girl ribbon at her throat, and put her hair in a ponytail and bathed her in pink light. (My assistant at the time, Johanna Witherby, now a third year film student at UT Austin, did the technical work, taking the film version and the two alternate versions off the DVD and syncing them up for me).
For more of Julie Talen and her work, visit glimpseculture.com
Born in a Trunk medley
Video 1: Born In A Trunk (Roger Edens and Leonard Gershe)
- I’ll Get By (Roy Turk and Fred E. Ahlert)
- You Took Advantage of Me (Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers)
Video 2: Born in a Trunk
- The Black Bottom (Perry Bradford)
- The Peanut Vendor (Moises Simons)
- My Melancholy Baby (Ernie Burnett and George A. Norton)
Swanee (George Gershwin, Irving Caesar)*
Swanee — (I’ll included the entire medley when it becomes available again)
Here’s What I’m Here For
It’s a New World
Someone at Last
Video presently unavailable. See the above gallery of photos from the number, most of which appear to have been shot during rehearsals or filming.
Lose That Long Face
*The 1954 soundtrack track list with Swanee coming at the beginning of the Born in the Trunk medley
- Gotta Have Me Go with You (Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin)
- The Man That Got Away (Arlen and Gershwin)
- Born In A Trunk (Roger Edens (music) and Leonard Gershe (lyrics))
- Here’s What I’m Here For (Arlen and Gershwin)
- It’s a New World (Arlen and Gershwin)
- Someone at Last (Arlen and Gershwin)
- Lose That Long Face (Arlen and Gershwin)