On the day the Oscar nominations go out, I decided to take a look at what might be by today’s standards, a forgotten film. The Star, featuring Bette Davis and directed by Stuart Heisler, is a cautionary tale about what is on the other side of a hugely successful, award-winning career.
For Bette Davis at this stage in her professional life, the film must have felt like a semi-autobiographical sketch. Made two years after her ‘comeback’ in the classic All About Eve, this would prove to be one of her last fully rounded roles.
For her role as the down-on-her luck award-winning actress, Davis received the ninth of her ten Academy Award nominations [she would receive one more for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)].
The Star is the story of a has-been actress (Margaret Elliot) who is willing to sacrifice anything and anymore for another shot at the big time. Left to suffer in her wake: her teenaged daughter Gretchen (Natalie Wood), from whom she shields her professional and financial woes, and Jim Johannsen (Sterling Hayden), a young actor who has great affection for Margaret in spite of herself.
If you have not seen The Star, you are in luck (as long as you have TCM). It will be shown on Sunday, February 26th (Oscar™ Night) at 8:00PM Eastern Time.
Please visit Todd Mason’s Sweet Freedom blog every Tuesday for more overlooked/forgotten films.