The Star (1953)

89-90 mins | Drama | March 1953

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HISTORY

Although HR news items include Susan Morrow and Herbert Deans in the cast of this film, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Fritz Feld is also included in the cast by a HR news item, but does not appear in the released film. According to a 14 Aug 1952 LAT news item, locations for the film included the Griffith Park Zoo, the West Los Angeles jail and producer Bert E. Friedlob's own home in Los Angeles, CA. A Jan 1953 DV item reported that, in an unusual advertising stunt, Friedlob had "earmarked $1,000 for a telephone ballyhoo bombardment here to hypo the film at the box office" and had seven women calling "all residences in Greater Los Angeles" to publicize the picture.
       Bette Davis received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, but lost to Shirley Booth, who was nominated for her role in Come Back, Little Sheba (see above). Ida Lupino and Edmond O'Brien starred in a radio broadcast of The Star for Lux Radio Theatre on 19 Apr 1954, and Mary Astor and William Hopper appeared in the Lux Video Theatre version of the story on 9 Feb 1956. The Star marked actress June Travis' first film appearance since the 1938 Republic production Federal Man-Hunt (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ... More Less

Although HR news items include Susan Morrow and Herbert Deans in the cast of this film, their appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Fritz Feld is also included in the cast by a HR news item, but does not appear in the released film. According to a 14 Aug 1952 LAT news item, locations for the film included the Griffith Park Zoo, the West Los Angeles jail and producer Bert E. Friedlob's own home in Los Angeles, CA. A Jan 1953 DV item reported that, in an unusual advertising stunt, Friedlob had "earmarked $1,000 for a telephone ballyhoo bombardment here to hypo the film at the box office" and had seven women calling "all residences in Greater Los Angeles" to publicize the picture.
       Bette Davis received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, but lost to Shirley Booth, who was nominated for her role in Come Back, Little Sheba (see above). Ida Lupino and Edmond O'Brien starred in a radio broadcast of The Star for Lux Radio Theatre on 19 Apr 1954, and Mary Astor and William Hopper appeared in the Lux Video Theatre version of the story on 9 Feb 1956. The Star marked actress June Travis' first film appearance since the 1938 Republic production Federal Man-Hunt (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
27 Dec 1952.
---
Daily Variety
19 Dec 52
p. 3.
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1953.
---
Film Daily
15 Jan 53
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Aug 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 52
pp. 3-4.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Aug 52
p. 3, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Aug 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Sep 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Dec 52
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Jan 53
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
14 Aug 1952.
---
Los Angeles Times
25 Dec 1952.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
27 Dec 52
p. 1661.
New York Times
28 Jan 53
p. 23.
New York Times
1 Feb 1953.
---
Newsweek
9 Feb 1953.
---
Variety
24 Dec 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Bert E. Friedlob Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Set des
FILM EDITOR
Ed supv
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Ward
Miss Davis' gowns des
Cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
Orch
SOUND
Sd eng
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Asst to the prod
Prod supv
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1953
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 25 December 1952
New York opening: 28 January 1953
Production Date:
7 August--early September 1952 at Motion Picture Center
Copyright Claimant:
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
25 December 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2351
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
89-90
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

On the night that her possessions are being auctioned to satisfy her creditors, faded movie star Margaret Elliott's bumps into her agent, Harry Stone, and berates him for not getting her any work. Harry advises Margaret that she no longer has the "fresh, dewy quality" desired by moviegoers, but Margaret pleads with him to approach producer Joe Morrison, who is preparing a new film, The Fatal Winter , on which Margaret once held an option. After Harry demurs and counsels Margaret to ask her now-wealthy ex-husband, John Morgan, for money, as she had supported him during their marriage, Margaret reluctantly drives to the Morgan's mansion. There she is greeted by her devoted, teenage daughter Gretchen, and John's second wife, Peggy. After quarreling with Peggy, who stole John from her, Margaret reassures Gretchen that she is still a big star, despite the disparaging remarks of Gretchen's classmates. Margaret then returns to her apartment, where her landlady, the sympathetic Mrs. Adams, warns her that the rental agency is demanding her back rent. Waiting in her apartment are Margaret's parasitic sister Faith and brother-in-law Roy, on whom Margaret has lavished gifts and money throughout her career. When Roy asks for their monthly check, Margaret yells at him that she is bankrupt and orders them to leave. Margaret then grabs her Best Actress Academy Award and goes on a drunken binge. She is eventually arrested, and after spending a miserable night in jail, is bailed out by shipyard owner Jim Johannson. Margaret questions Jim about his actions and he replies that she once did him a good turn ... +


On the night that her possessions are being auctioned to satisfy her creditors, faded movie star Margaret Elliott's bumps into her agent, Harry Stone, and berates him for not getting her any work. Harry advises Margaret that she no longer has the "fresh, dewy quality" desired by moviegoers, but Margaret pleads with him to approach producer Joe Morrison, who is preparing a new film, The Fatal Winter , on which Margaret once held an option. After Harry demurs and counsels Margaret to ask her now-wealthy ex-husband, John Morgan, for money, as she had supported him during their marriage, Margaret reluctantly drives to the Morgan's mansion. There she is greeted by her devoted, teenage daughter Gretchen, and John's second wife, Peggy. After quarreling with Peggy, who stole John from her, Margaret reassures Gretchen that she is still a big star, despite the disparaging remarks of Gretchen's classmates. Margaret then returns to her apartment, where her landlady, the sympathetic Mrs. Adams, warns her that the rental agency is demanding her back rent. Waiting in her apartment are Margaret's parasitic sister Faith and brother-in-law Roy, on whom Margaret has lavished gifts and money throughout her career. When Roy asks for their monthly check, Margaret yells at him that she is bankrupt and orders them to leave. Margaret then grabs her Best Actress Academy Award and goes on a drunken binge. She is eventually arrested, and after spending a miserable night in jail, is bailed out by shipyard owner Jim Johannson. Margaret questions Jim about his actions and he replies that she once did him a good turn when she picked him from obscurity to co-star in one of her films. Jim, who was happy to leave acting for the Army, and now loves to work with his hands, escorts Margaret home, only to discover that she has been locked out of her apartment. Jim then takes her to his loft and tells her that with rest, she will feel better. When Margaret awakens, she discovers news of her arrest plastered across the front page and hurriedly calls Gretchen to assure her that it was just a publicity stunt. Margaret then tells Jim that she is broke because she invested her own money in three pictures that failed to break even. Margaret bitterly blames the "big companies" who failed to give her films "a decent release," but Jim muses that perhaps she destroyed her career herself. Later, when Jim remarks that Margaret tried to kill herself with her drunken driving, she insinuates that he was trying to buy her by bailing her out of jail. Although Jim admits that he was in love with her when they were filming their movie, he now accuses her of "being a career" rather than a woman. Margaret dashes out and at a nearby pharmacy, steals a bottle of perfume. Upset by her behavior, Margaret accepts Jim's advice that she find a "real" job. Summoning her acting skills, Margaret sails through an interview at a local department store and begins work as a saleslady. Her newly found confidence is shattered, however, when she overhears two gossiping customers complaining that the store should not have hired a "jailbird." Determined to regain her stardom, Margaret storms into Harry's office and demands that he contact Morrison. The producer agrees to see her, although she is dismayed to learn that he wants her to audition for the role of the frumpy older sister, rather than that of the heroine. The night before the test, Margaret rehearses her lines with Jim, and he questions her decision to play the part much younger than it is written. Margaret airily states that she knows how to handle the director, Keith Barkley, but the next day, he also instructs her not to play the part in such a coy, flirtatious fashion. Margaret insists on continuing with her interpretation, and that night, tells Jim that she is certain Morrison will offer her the heroine's role because her test went so well. The next morning, however, when Harry and Margaret visit Morrison, Margaret watches her audition reel and is horrified by how foolish she appears. Hoping to calm the overwrought Margaret, Harry takes her to his home to rest, although he has forgotten that he and his wife Phyllis are hosting a party that evening. When Margaret awakens, Phyllis encourages her to attend the party, and there Margaret meets screenwriter Richard Stanley. Stanley describes his latest script, which he believes would be perfect for Margaret, as it is about an actress who is so driven by ambition that she cannot accept the end of her career. When Stanley states that the lead character will be pitied because she will have given up "her birthright: the privilege and glory of just being a woman," Margaret runs off. She then picks up Gretchen and returns to Jim, who welcomes them both with open arms and gives Margaret a tender kiss. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.