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Ritesh Batra on Photograph


Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)
Christian Petzoldt (Transit)
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Visual Index ~ "A Star is Born" Best Shots

For this week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot challenge I asked participants to look at A Star is Born (1954) though they could sub in the Janet Gaynor 30s version of the Barbra Streisand 70s version or the Clint Eastwood/Beyoncé ver-- oh they haven't made that one yet -- if they were itching to watch one of those instead. In the end you know we always come back to Judy G.

Here's what the Best Shot club chose in semi-linear narrative order (I cheated a bit to fill it out as there were far too few entries today). But since the movie was famously post post-production with now infamously missing sequences, who knows?! 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mrs Norman Maine and... A Star is Born (after the jump)

The Film's The Thing (yep, this is the Gaynor version)

She Blogged By Night

The Film Experience
We Recycle MoviesDancin' Dan
AmiresqueAntagony & Ecstacy

Alison Tooey
The Film Experience
CinesnatchFilm Actually

The Film's The Thing (Yep, this is the Streisand version)
The Film's The Thing

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References (7)

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Reader Comments (12)

Looking forward to seeing the various shots!

Here's my entry:

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterallisontooey

I knew somebody else would choose the same shot I did. "The Man That Got Away" is just too good.

Here's my entry in case you didn't get it!

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

If not a shot from "The Man That Got Away," then this shocking, unforgettable moment: Tainted Oscar. I gasp every time.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Paul -- I KNOW! ugh. basically that calls out for a photoshop job with Grace Kelly in for James Mason. such a travesty that Judy lost that oscar.

April 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I watched this again over the weekend with an eye towards the best shot. Tough call since Cukor offered many. I did ultimately decide that her framing surrounded by the musicians during The Man That Got Away which Amiresque selected was my pick but the others that I chose from where as follows.

For pure scene composition, The Melancholy Baby number during the Born in a Trunk sequence is a marvel of blues and greys with Judy looking beautiful in that bolero jacket, gloves and gown.

Judy in the spotlight at the end of Born in a Trunk, the plaintive look in her eyes capturing her essence.

When her name is announced as the Oscar winner and Cukor shows her and the empty chair next to her, isolated and alone at the moment of her triumph.

The shot of Norman as he listens in anguish to Esther's plan to throw her life away to once again try to save him.

"This is Mrs. Norman Maine"

And the one that would be my second choice for best: After her big dressing room meltdown she has to go back and do a pick up shot for the end of Lose That Long Face with the big finish and huge smile. Nowhere else in the film, or any film for that matter, is the falseness of what you see on screen better illustrated.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Nathaniel---you are so right...although I would even consider replacing Judy with Grace in that Photoshop job...

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I did participate in this as well, but I think perhaps your website has a problem with livejournal websites, because my other comment has yet to show up. Look for the entry under the title "Musical Drama: Can I Just have Half of That?"

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterallisontooey

Alison -- found it. sorry bout it. fixed it. (my site does seem to think you're a spambot for some reason. oopsie. hey it happens to one of my besties too)

April 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

joel -- all good choices. did you post any anywhere?

April 25, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel, I have no blog or anywhere to post them but I love to watch the designated films and play along!

A Star is Born is one of my favorites and I'm looking forward to Double Indemnity, another favorite-Barbara Stanwyck can do no wrong, next week but I try to watch all the films in the series. Hud, which I've only seen bits and pieces of, is actually in the mail now so I'm ready when it comes up. I don't always comment because I don't always like the films chosen but hey that's part of the movie going experience too.

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

joel6 -- thanks for the info. I love knowing that people are playing along, even silently.

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered Commenternathanielr

I love, love, love how five participants chose "The Man That Got Away." And, they were all different moments! And I love they way it looks laid out in the context of this post with the rest of the shots. Did I say loved? LOVED!

And, LOL'ing over the The Film Is the Thing!!!!

April 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVince Smetana
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