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STAR!

Many consider STAR! ($15) to be the cinematic equivalent of a train wreck, and while the film may not be touted highly on the resumes of actress Julie Andrews or director Robert Wise, I don’t think the film is quite as horrendous as some folks would have you believe. STAR! Is a musical biography of actress Gertrude Lawrence, but the movie features a screenplay so superficial and bland, that the elaborately staged musical numbers are the only things of interest in the film- The Saga Of Jenny from Lady In The Dark is indeed a knockout. Of course, plucky star Julie Andrews does all she can with the material, but as written, it is doubtful that anyone could bring the character of Gertrude Lawrence to life. In fact, most of the characters that populate STAR! are genuine stiffs, save for Noel Coward, who is delightfully portrayed by Daniel Massey. The cast of STAR! Also features Richard Crenna, Michael Craig, Robert Reed, Bruce Forsyth, Beryl Reid, John Collin and Alan Oppenheimer.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made STAR! available on DVD in a 2.20:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for 16:9 displays. For the most part, STAR! Looks great, although there are minor inconsistencies in the image. The film elements have held up quite well, with some minor blemishes being the only noticeable sign of age. Since STAR! was photographed in 70mm, the image produces superior sharpness and definition- not requiring occasionally bothersome edge enhancement that has been applied to the image. Colors are strong, vibrant and rendered without noise or fuzziness. Blacks appear deep, whites are clean and the contrast is generally smooth. Digital compression artifacts are never a cause for concern.

For this release, STAR! is offered with a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Sound quality can be a bit variable, but for the most part it is quite good- sequences utilizing the film’s "newsreel" plot device are intentionally a bit weak. However, fidelity is quite respectable for a late 1960’s production, with the musical numbers coming across in a rather pleasing manner. Julie Andrews’ vocals are always enjoyable; plus all of the film’s dialogue is well recorded and totally understandable. A monaural version of the soundtrack is also provided, as are English and Spanish subtitles.

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The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. Director Robert Wise is on hand for a running audio commentary, with additional comments from quite a few other participants. On the opposite side of the disc, one will find extensive text supplements, plus the ten-minute Star! The Sound Of A Legend, the nine minute Silver Star: 25th Anniversary, four still galleries, a teaser trailer, (bonus trailers) and TV spots.

Unquestionably, STAR! is not a great film. However, it is an interesting cinematic failure that is worth seeing for its elaborately staged musical numbers. The DVD looks and sounds great, so if you are interested in seeing STAR!, you can’t go wrong by picking up a copy of the bargain priced disc.

 

STAR! 


Star! (1968)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2004 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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