A Star Is Born is a property almost as old as Hollywood itself, one that has been revisited in different forms for more than 85 years.
The narrative is one of nascent glory and success matched by an equally tragic fall and flame-out — while one star is born, another dies. Literally. (Spoilers, but c’mon, you’ve had 85 years.) To add to the pathos, the stars who are on opposite trajectories also happen to be desperately in love with each other, worshipping and feeding one another’s talent in a macabre dance of fame and romance.
In many ways, it’s the story of Tinseltown itself — the cost of fame, the darkly tragic allure of stardom, the way showbiz dreams will break your heart no matter how you might try to steel yourself.
This fall will see the release of the newest iteration of A Star Is Born, one that (like the 1976 version) moves the proceedings from the film industry to the music business. Bradley Cooper (who also directs) stars opposite Lady Gaga (who has penned new songs for the film) as Jackson Maine and Ally, the falling and rising stars at the center of the film.
With the Wednesday release of a trailer that has the internet using the fire emoji like it’s going out of style, let’s revisit the trailers for every previous version of A Star Is Born.
Here’s the latest, starring Cooper and Lady Gaga:
The trailer gives you a pretty good idea of the story arc: Cooper’s Jackson Maine is a huge country star, but his offstage ways (including drinking) have others in his life worried about him. He discovers Ally performing in a dive bar and encourages her to find her voice, while also falling in love with her. Their partnership becomes personal and professional until she takes the stage to sing “The Shallow,” a new song Gaga and Cooper wrote for the film alongside music producer Mark Ronson. It’s powerful, effective, and chill-inducing — and the movie’s two biggest selling points, the passion of the love story and Gaga’s voice, take center stage.
A Star Is Born (1976)
This film bears the closest resemblance to the 2018 version, being the first to focus on singers rather than movie stars. It is oh-so-’70s in its depiction of leads Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson in frequent states of half-undress, embracing in their home and more romantic vistas.
In structure, it’s fairly similar to the new trailer, showing John Norman Howard (Kristofferson) at the height of his game but on the verge of burning out, in contrast to fresh face Esther Hoffman (Streisand). We see more of the story here, including their marriage, their later fights, and firmer glimpses of Howard’s self-destructive downward spiral. He also ominously promises Esther he’s never gonna die!
The trailer showcases the film’s most notable asset — Streisand’s voice — singing “Evergreen,” the love theme she co-wrote with Paul Williams for the film. It went on to earn them both an Oscar. Will Gaga’s songwriting efforts for the new film follow suit?