Dir. Robert Wise. 1968, 175 mins. 70mm. With Julie Andrews, Richard Crenna, Michael Craig, Daniel Massey, Robert Reed, Bruce Forsyth. With its succinctly confident title, Star! was Twentieth Century-Fox’s attempt to continue the success of the 1960s roadshow musical. An expansive biopic of Gertrude Lawrence, a celebrated English performer who rose up from music halls to become a famed fixture on the West End and Broadway, the production abounds with ambitious musical numbers, echoing the grand quality of other show business dramas such as The Great Ziegfeld and A Star Is Born. Though a box office disappointment—a sign of changing times in Hollywood from big studio productions to edgier, independent-minded fare—Star! is an underrated, underseen spectacle from movie musical legend Wise, reunited here with Julie Andrews just three years after The Sound of Music took the world by storm.
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