Movie Review: Star! (1968)
“When everyone was singing a happy song…When a girl wasn’t afraid to show her heart…When all the world was this lady’s stage…Those Were the Happy Times!”
Director: Robert Wise
Cast: Julie Andrews, Richard Crenna, Michael Craig
Synopsis: The story of the life of actress Gertrude Lawrence.
Cor blimey, Guvnor, there can’t be much that’s more excruciating than Julie Andrews (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Despicable Me) wiv a Cockney accent an’ no mistake. It’s not that her accent’s bad on a Dick Van Dyke scale, just that a posh totty trying to talk common simply doesn’t work. In this case it doesn’t work on two levels: firstly, Andrews doesn’t convince as a poverty-stricken working class waif, and secondly her more natural plummy tones are just too posh to make us believe she was ever once that same poverty-stricken working class waif.
The fairly run-of-the-mill story of Gertrude Lawrence’s life is filled out with an excess of musical numbers that pad out the film’s running time to something in excess of two hours. The numbers are OK – but that’s all – but there isn’t really that much going on with her life: a few failed relationships, a friendship with Noel Coward, financial mismanagement and an alienated daughter, all topped off with a feeling of emptiness and isolation once lasting success has been achieved. It’s all been done countless times before, and this uninspired effort adds nothing new to the genre.
(Reviewed 6th January 2012)