A Star is Born
The 1954 remake of A Star is Born renewed Judy Garland as a star and led to an Oscar nomination, after her spirit-crushing dismissal from MGM Studios in 1950. This CD-stretching reissue (78 minutes) compiles all the material originally used in the film. For those who own the 1988 reissue on CD, this version adds an additional 35 minutes of music, including all the background music used in the film as well as outtakes and bonus tracks. You would think this would be a godsend for Judy Garland fans around the world, but it is really a mixed blessing. The 1988 reissue was the first reissue in true stereo, but this version includes both remastered stereo and mono versions (some audiophiles prefer mono to stereo, so the fact that several are included here is certainly a boon). However, while all versions of this soundtrack include the seven Garland vocal tracks from the film, this reissue and the 1988 reissue merely include additional material from the film — not necessarily essential material. It should be left up to the buyer to decide whether or not this is really an essential purchase, or if you already have the earlier version, to simply download the additional tracks from iTunes.
For film buffs, it is a different story. Although hailed at the time of its release (despite the furor arising from its post-premier edit), A Star is Born was quickly recognized as a masterpiece through its combination of song and drama, and was accorded legendary status. In 1983, it received protection from the Library of Congress and the National Film Registry, one of the few musical films earmarked for such preservation. Based in no small part on its artistic merit and in salvaging Garland’s career, any serious film buff should add this disc to their collection, as it is the definitive recording of this film.