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A Star is Born  /  Nothing Sacred

April 10, 2015 - 7:30 pm
William Wellman Jr. He will sign copies of his book, "Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel," beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive, with funding provided by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the American Film Institute/National Endowment for the Arts Preservation Grants Program, and the cooperation with Warner Bros.

A Star is Born  (1937)

The Academy Award for Best Original Story went to William A. Wellman for this epic tale of an actress' rise to the top.  Janet Gaynor shines as the naive young actress helped to success by her famous actor husband, Norman Mayne (Fredric March), whose career fades even as hers ascends.  Wellman's personal experience as an assistant director and actor when he was starting out sharpens the insider’s wit and insight that keep the melodrama from sliding into sentiment.  Critics praised the use of Technicolor for serving story and mood, rather than working as a distraction.

Selznick International Pictures, Inc.  Producer: David O Selznick.  Director: William A. Wellman.  Screenwriter: Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell, Robert Carson.  Cinematography: W. Howard Greene.  Editor: James E. Newcorn, Anson Stevenson.  Cast: Janet Gaynor, Fredric March, Adolphe Menjou, May Robson, Andy Devine.  35mm, color, 111 min.

Nothing Sacred  (1937)

The word “cynical” describes any William A. Wellman comedy, but none more than this satire, written by that most biting of scenarists, Ben Hecht.  As modern mass culture hits its stride, the press gains more and more power (while using it less and less judiciously).  To wit, scamming reporter March chances upon a public relations gold mine when he meets a small-town beauty supposedly dying of radium poisoning.  The press hype builds her into a national heroine, except the diagnosis is a little off.  It's screwball comedy on ice.

Selznick International Pictures, Inc.  Producer: David O. Selznick.  Director: William A. Wellman.  Screenwriter: Ben Hecht.  Based on a short story by James H. Street.  Cinematography: W. Howard Greene.  Editor: James E. Newcom.  Cast: Carole Lombard, Fredric March, Charles Winninger, Walter Connolly, Sig Rumann.  35mm, color, 75 min.