Star is Born, A (1976): Starring Streisand and Kris Kristofferson

Frank Pearson’s third film version of the story is the weakest. It was first made into a film in 1937, with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, and then, even better in 1954 by George Cukor with Judy Garland, in her best dramatic performance, and James Mason.

Switching locales from Hollywood to the music indutsry to fit Barbra Streisand’s skills, the story centers around rock star John Norman (Kris Kristofferson in an iconic role) whose career has peaked.

One night, after a concert, he stumbles into a club where he sees a singing group fronted by young singer Esther Hoffman (Streisand). The two quickly fall in love, although Esther has trouble with John’s rock star lifestyle. One night, a typically burned-out John lets Esther sing a few songs at one of his shows and before long she’s the talk of the record business. While Esther’s star begins to rise, John’s continues to sink, and while she desperately tries to help him clean up and focus on his music, it may be too late to save him.

The “upbeat” ending is fake, but it must have pleased Streisand’s fans at the time. The film was produced by Jon Peters, Sreisand’s lover at the time. Director Pearson notoriously clashed with his leading lady on the set. But the reports and gossip, which reaffirmed Streisand’s public image as a “difficult actress,” amy have contributed to the movie’s commercial appeal.

Oscar Alert

“Star Is Born” was nominated for four Oscars and won five Golden Globes, including Best Picture, Actress, Actor and Original Score.

Paul Williams, Kenny Loggins, Leon Russell and others worked with Streisand on the popular song score, topped by the Streisand/Williams hit “Evergreen,” which won both the Oscar and Golden Globe as Best Original Song.

Previous Versions of the Story

The 1937 version of A Star Is Born, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, captured seven Academy Award nominations and won one (Best Screenplay). The 1954 version, directed by George Cukor, starring Judy Garland and James Mason, was nominated for six Oscars.