6 ways Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga's A Star is Born paid homage to the previous films
A Star is Born hit theaters on October 5th to glittering acclaim. In her acting debut, Lady Gaga all but cements herself as an artistic force to be reckoned with—from her dreamy introductory performance of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose” to her last gut wrenching performance of “I’ll Never Love Again.”
A Star is Born is a remake of three other films of the same name; the first 1937 film starred Janet Gaynor and Fredric March, the second 1954 film starred Judy Garland and James Mason, and the third 1976 film starred Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. While each retelling brings its own elements to the classic film, the central plot line remains the same: each follows an emotional tale of substance abuse and sacrificial melodrama.
The latest A Star is Born follows musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) as he falls in love with struggling artist Ally (Lady Gaga). With much encouragement from Maine, Ally’s music career flourishes, and as their relationship blossoms, Maine contends with substance abuse and tinnitus. The grim ending mirrors that of the first three films, with Cooper (who also co-wrote the script and directed the film) displaying one of his most illuminating performances yet.
We’ve gone and highlighted all the ways the most recent A Star is Born paid homage to the first three films. And we’ll warn you right now: *spoilers ahead.*
1“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”
At the beginning of the film, Lady Gaga’s Ally leaves her restaurant job en route to her singing gig at the drag bar where she meets Cooper’s Jackson Maine. As the movie’s title slowly appears on the screen, Ally hums “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”—a nostalgic nod to Judy Garland, who starred in the 1954 version.
2Eyebrows, eyebrows, eyebrows
Mirroring the scene when Norman Maine (James Mason) removes Esther Blodgett’s (Judy Garland) makeup in the 1954 version, Cooper’s Jackson Maine removes Ally’s faux eyebrows backstage during their initial meeting. Additionally, in the 1976 version, Esther Hoffman (Barbra Streisand) plays with John Norman Howard’s (Kris Kristofferson) eyebrows in the bath, which leads to the next point…
3The bathtub scene
In a nod to the 1976 version where Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson are in the bathtub surrounded by candles, Ally and Jackson share an intimate moment in the bathtub in the modern remake.
4“Just wanted to get another look at you”
When Maine drops Ally back home after a night of drinks and deep conversation in a parking lot, he rolls down his windows and delivers the cheesy but iconic “Hey! I just wanted to get another look at you” line, which has been used in different variations in the last three films as well.
5Ally’s subtle wedding dress
During their low-key wedding scene, Ally is rocking a bohemian white wedding dress—this calls to mind Streisand’s free-flowing aesthetic inhabited by Esther Blodgett in the 1976 film.
6That awful death that made you spiral into a deep sadness
Yes, all four versions end with that inevitable death. But while the first two films took a similar approach (the titular male love interests walking into the ocean), the 1976 version saw Kristofferson’s John Norman Howard chaotically drive to his death—his foot planted on the accelerator of his vehicle. In the 2018 version, Cooper at first will seemingly undergo the same fate. Instead, he exits his vehicle, and in a shot panning in on the belt he’s holding, viewers formulate the conclusion themselves.
A Star is Born is out in theaters now.