A Star Is Born ---BONUS Kris Kristofferson Double Bill ---
1976. Warner Brothers, Warner Home Video, Color, Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1, 139 minutes, Rated R
Release Date: December 17, 1976
A Star Is Born is available at Amazon.com on DVD and VHS.
Movie Synopsis: A splashy, flashy and modernly dramatic remake of the classic inside show-biz story, in which rock star John Norman Howard is on the decline (due to drink and drugs), while his new love interest, squeaky-clean Esther Hoffman, is making her way to super stardom.
Cast: Barbra Streisand, Kris Kristofferson, Gary Busey, Sally Kirkland, Paul Mazursky
Director: Frank Pierson
Thoughts on the Movie:
This third production of A Star Is Born was certainly worth the effort, especially if you are a fan of Barbra Streisand... and, of course, Kris Kristofferson. In fact, in some ways this story is a perfect vehicle for Streisand, almost in the same way it was for Judy Garland (in remake no. 1). They are both killer singers and superb actresses, so it would have been hard to end up with a turkey, which this movie certainly is not.
I think they did the rock star thing pretty well, even though you have to stretch your belief system a little to allow Streisand to enter into that domain. Kristofferson is at his grungy, sexy best, and the supporting cast also makes sense. I love the section of the film where they go off on their Southwestern honeymoon R & R thing, and that is why this movie made it into Movie Locations of the Great Southwest. That Arizona adobe house, including all the inside decor, is absolutely fabulous and exactly as those kind of places are in real life. Kudos to the location scout and set decorator: they created a dream... that is also very real. What a beautiful setting for tragedy! And to sum it all up, if you havent given this movie a chance, you truly are missing out on some great entertainment, classic 70s style. ~Jean
Empire Ranch, Sonoita, Arizona (see Map)
This desert location is where the scenes at Esther and John Normans newly built honeymoon home were shot. The adobe house is quite impressive, inside and out... as was the landscape that surrounded it. My guess is that it is probably impossible at this point to find the exact location of this house for viewing, as the land is private and not near a highway.
Right: The Sonoita, Arizona, ranch house which served as the location for the honeymoon getaway of the star-crossed couple in the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born. The house is private property and cannot be located for viewing by tourists or sightseers.
About Sonoita, Arizona:
Sonoita, Arizona (population 826; elevation 4,885 feet; 31° 40 8 N, 110° 39 14 W) is located at the junction of State Highways 82/83 in the southeastern part of the state, appromiately 25 miles from the Mexican border. Sonoita has for many years been a popular place for wealthy Arizonans to establish vacation and retirement homes and ranches, causing Sonoita to experience significant growth.
The village of Sonoita was founded in 1882, with the arrival of the Benson-to-Nogales Railway. During that time as many as 3,000 head of cattle were shipped daily from surrounding ranches to markets back East. Many cattle ranches still proudly operate their family business carrying on a tradition that dates back five generations or more.
Today, the Sonoita Valley is home to Arizona's Wine Country. This burgeoning industry has found a place in Southern Arizona's moderate year-round climate. Sonoitas grassland meadows, oak-dotted hillsides, spectacular mountains, and lush canyons make up some of Arizonas most beautiful landscapes. The majestic Santa Rita mountains with one of the states highest peaks, Mount Wrightson, create a spectacular backdrop for the Sonoita horizon.
Right: The unique scenery at Sonoita, Arizona, one of the locations for the 1976 film, A Star Is Born. This area figured prominently in the desert honeymoon scenes.
Lodging & Dining:
Xanadu Ranch Getaway B & B. 92 South Los Encinos Road, Sonoita, Arizona
Relax and enjoy one of the oldest homesteads in Sonoita, dating back to 1912. This gracious B & B offers private lounging areas, with a spectacular view of Wrightstons Peak. The ranch is convenient to all the wineries, plus Tombstone, Bisbee, Karchner Kaverns, Historic Fort Hauchuca, Ghost Towns, and more! Also just minutes to Sonoita restaurants and shops.
Sonoita Inn. Located in the renovated La Pradera (Spanish for the meadows) at the crossroads of scenic State Highways 82/83, the Sonoita Inn is a one-of-a-kind western country lodge that captures local history and flavor. This place has the same look and style of the honeymoon house in A Star Is Born (although its barn-like and not adobe). So this is the real deal. The Inn features spacious rooms, which provide scenic views of the surrounding mountains and grasslands.
Left: The Sonoita Inn is a great place to stay in the beautiful desert of Sonoita, Arizona.
The Steak Out. 3235 Highway 82, Sonoita, Arizona
This is ranch country, and this big barn of a place is where the ranchers and everyone else for miles around head when they want a good steak. A classic cowboy atmosphere prevails: theres even a mounted buffalo head just inside the front door where you pick up the scent of mesquite. Serving steaks and chops, barbecue, and other classic American cuisine since 1950.
Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams won the Oscar for Best Music, Original Song (Evergreen: Love Theme from A Star Is Born).
Barbra Streisand and Paul Williams won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, Motion Picture (Evergreen: Love Theme from A Star Is Born).
A Star Is Born won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Musical-Comedy.
Barbra Streisand won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress, Musical-Comedy.
Kris Kristofferson won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor, Musical-Comedy.
Barbra Streisand insisted that she wanted Elvis Presley for the part of John Norman Howard. She even went to Las Vegas to see Elvis after one of his performances in 1975, and talked to him directly to convince him to play the part. Elvis wanted to do it, but his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, handled the negotiations all wrong. He told the producers that if they wanted Elvis, his name would have to be at the top of the movie poster, above Streisand. He also asked them for a very large sum of money. Elvis wasnt in the movie, although he had been Streisands first choice since the beginning of the project. But she also considered Marlon Brando and Mick Jagger for the lead male role.
Right: Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson share an intimate moment in a scene from the rock and roll version of A Star Is Born.
The version of Evergreen during the recording studio scene is a live recording, filmed in a single take. This was done at the insistence of Barbra Streisand: she hates doing lip sync work, she wanted to be able to have closeups during the scene (which would expose any flaws in lip sync), and she wanted a more natural feel to that version (as evidenced by the kissing and laughing). Kris Kristofferson, however, was very reluctant about singing live on screen, and had to be talked into it. A more formal studio recording was used for the final credits and soundtrack album.
Kris Kristofferson compared making the movie to going through Ranger School, the elite U.S. Army Ranger program, which he did in 1963. In Ranger School, you sleep an average of three out of every 24 hours, and your skills and will to succeed is constantly challenged to the maximum for three months. And he said, Filming with Streisand is an experience which may have cured me of the movies.
Character Quote: Everywhere you go fights break out and things get broken. Have you noticed that at all? ~Esther Hoffman (Barbra Streisand)