An American missionary and his wife travel to the exotic island kingdom of Hawaii, intent on converting the natives. But the clash between the two cultures is too great and instead of understanding there comes tragedy.
George Roy Hill
Max von Sydow,
Roger Delgado, the actor whom would later originate the role of Doctor Who's nemesis "The Master", is seen briefly as a visiting French diplomat passing by the (censor) Lord Chamberlain's office...aghast at overhearing "Noel" and "Gertie" straddle each other while rehearsing a scene from Coward's play "Private Lives" (to show the censor firsthand that it was going to be suitable for public taste!). See more »
In the number "Burlington Bertie" the banana skin thrown onstage by Gertie disappears. See more »
Close personal relationships are bloody difficult, my darling but they do get easier with time. Loneliness gets harder.
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The only credits seen at the beginning of the film are those for a fictional black-and-white short subject about Gertrude Lawrence. The film's real credits all appear at the end. However, the Twentieth-Century Fox logo is shown only in black-and-white, and with tinny 1940's-style sound recording, as part of that fictional newsreel. We never see the logo in color and stereophonic sound, although Twentieth-Century Fox released "Star!" See more »
When business didn't meet expectations, the studio suggested some shortening, and Robert Wise offered about 20 minutes of cuts that were literally scissored out of the prints while the film played to initial reserved seat audiences. The studio also tried revamping the ads to appeal to a younger audience, even including a shot of Julie posing with a motorcycle that was just an on-location joke and not a scene in the film. Another idea was to make up a couple print ads that tried to make the movie look like a soap opera, adding "Loves Of A..." to the title. The "Loves Of A Star!" ads were only tested briefly in a few papers, and never used widely. This prompted a politely shocked letter from Robert Wise to the studio, who sheepishly admitted it was a desperate attempt that failed. That title was never put on the actual film. In the spring of 1969, the studio withdrew the film from release entirely and decided on a drastic edit and total new identity. After removing many of the musical numbers and preparing new ads that deliberately made the picture look like The Sound of Music, a two-hour version was released under the title "Those Were the Happy Times". At his own request, The credit "A Robert Wise Film" is not present on this version. The short version did no business. See more »
After working with Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music", Robert Wise and Saul Chaplin were eager to find a vehicle to showcase her prodigious talents. In choosing the story of Gertrude Lawrence, it seemed they had found an ideal subject. But some serious mistakes were made along the way, which I think are the main reasons audiences rejected this extravagant production. Most important was the casting. There is very little chemistry between Andrews and her leading men, which makes it hard to empathize with the character's romantic entanglements and problems. Another problem was in one of the plot threads: Lawrence was depicted as being somewhat irresponsible with her personal life, especially her finances. If there's one quality Julie Andrews has always projected on screen, it is a down-to-earth, feet-on-the-ground sensibleness which is at odds with this aspect of the character as written. The musical numbers are the biggest reason for seeing this film, but they are staged to give little sense of the context in which they originally were presented (a common problem with show-biz biographies), so they come off looking more like production numbers from a late 60s TV special. Another quibble is that despite the fact that there were songs from shows by Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Kurt Weill, the script implies that all the music was by Noel Coward, even to the extent of having Coward at the piano at the opening night party for Gershwin's "Oh, Kay". Despite these problems, I find the film fascinating because of the lavishness of the production, which (unlike many show-biz bios) depicts a very believable historical setting, and because Wise and company were obviously trying to recreate an all but extinct musical genre: the star vehicle specifically tailored to the talents af a particular performer. For maximum appreciation of "Star!", I recommend the laser disc edition with commentary by Robert Wise, Saul Chaplin, and many members of the cast.
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