Ever since A Star Is Born hit the big screen earlier this month, the film has been a dominant force at the box office thanks to great reviews from critics and an overwhelmingly positive response from audiences. The film was clearly a labor of love for first-time director Bradley Cooper and star Lady Gaga, overflowing with references to the previous versions of the story.
A Star Is Born tells the story of the fading star who lifts a new one. Cooper plays Jackson Maine, a country star consumed by his demons — alcohol, drugs and a hearing problem. After a show one day, he finds himself in a drag bar, where he meets Lady Gaga's Ally, a wannabe singer-songwriter who dreams of making it big.
The story has already been told three times before. William A. Wellman's original 1937 film had Frederic March as the drunk has-been and Janet Gaynor as the rising star in movies. In 1954, George Cukor remade it with James Mason and Judy Garland. In 1976, the story was moved to the music business for the Barbra Streisand-Kris Kristofferson version.
While some remakes are made without reverence for previous takes, Cooper's version of A Star Is Born embraces its "remake" identity, mixing in references to Gaga's real life and the past movies.
Scroll on for a look at eight references and Easter eggs found in A Star Is Born.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.
"Over The Rainbow"
Although "Over The Rainbow" was not in Judy Garland's A Star Is Born, Ally can be heard whistling the legendary Wizard of Oz tune behind the title card. That title card in itself is a reference to the past films as well. Considering so many movies made today do not even have opening credits, this was a calculated move on Cooper's part.prevnext
The Make-Up Scenes
Since the original A Star Is Born, each take has had specific moments that have carried on from movie to movie. One of those is a scene where the new star is overwhelmed by make-up.
In 1937, Gaynor was hidden under a pound of make-up for her first screen test, and Garland had the same experience in 1954. Notably in Cooper's version, Ally is the one who applies her own make-up to hide her face. And, just like before, it is up to Cooper to take off that make-up to see the star's true face.prevnext
The Bathtub Scene
One of the most overt references to the 1976 version is the bathtub sex scene, in which Streisand famously applies make-up on Kristofferson's face.
It is very silly, but has become an iconic part of an otherwise dreary and plodding version of the story. Cooper carried that scene in to 2018.prevnext
The Nose Knows
No other previous version of A Star Is Born reflected reality like the 1954 version... until Cooper's. In his take, he embedded several references to Gaga's own story. Throughout the film, Ally is obsessed with her nose because she has been told that it is the one thing that kept her back before.
"I was told when I was first starting out that I should get a nose job, but I didn't because I wanted to be who I was," Gaga told Sky News. "I really believed in myself when I started out pounding on doors to break down all of the barriers in the music industry, I really had courage."prevnext
The Angry Executive
In Cooper's A Star Is Born, Rafi Gavron plays Rez Gavron, who becomes Ally's manager. The role is similar to Jack Carson's in the '54 one and Lionel Stander in the '37 one.
These characters all hate the Maine's for the roles they play in Ally and Vicki Lester's lives. They root for his downfall, and they end up pushing them to oblivion.prevnext
The Friend Who Pushes the Star
Cooper brought back one big element that was missing from the '54 and '76 versions. In the '37 film, Gaynor's Vicki had a grandmother, played by May Robson, who showed up to help push the star ahead in the very end. While Ally does not have a grandmother, this role is effectively played by Sam Elliott's Bobby, Jackson's half-brother.
Overall, the biggest additions that Cooper and co-writers Eric Roth and Will Fetters brought to this new version involved Jackson. In the previous films, we never heard about Maine's family or what drove him to drink. We just assumed it was because of his fading star. But Cooper changed that, adding in family problems and even a health ailment he was running from.prevnext
Cooper's Dog and Doctor
While Sam Elliott will get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Charlie should also be up for an award. The dog in the film is named after Cooper's father and is his own dog.
"There was no nepotism — I wanted this relationship with the dog," Cooper told PEOPLE. "[Jackson and Ally] don't have a child together but they have a dog together, and I wanted it to be part of their story. I love dogs."
Cooper also cast his own ear doctor, William Slattery III, M.D., who told The Cut he had no prior acting experience at all.prevnext
"Just Wanted to Take Another Look at You"0comments
The line "Just wanted to take another look at you" was prominently featured in the trailers and has been in every single version of A Star Is Born.
A version of it even appears in George Cukor's What Price Hollywood?, the 1932 film George Cukor directed. That film predates the original A Star Is Born, but follows that story so closely that Cukor refused to direct A Star Is Born (before eventually directing the Garland one). The scenes always stick with the audience, and provide an unforgettable moment.prev