A STAR IS (RE)BORN: EMPOWERMENT OF THE FEMALE PROTAGONIST IN REMAKING A BASIC FILM PLOT

Open Access
Author:
Kehler, Jared
Area of Honors:
Film-Video
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kevin J Hagopian, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kevin J Hagopian, Honors Advisor
  • Rodney Brent Bingaman, Faculty Reader
Keywords:
  • Film
  • Film Studies
  • Historical Allegory
  • A Star is Born
  • Film and Video
  • Women's Empowerment
  • Feminism
  • Remakes
Abstract:
The recent version of A Star is Born released in 2018, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, makes a total of 4 films with the same title and same general story line. The original appeared on the screens in 1937. The film was then remade in 1954, and again in 1976, before this most recent edition. What draws Hollywood filmmakers back to this storyline time and time again? The story of a talented woman being acquainted with a famous man who’s losing his star power is intriguing, but why tell this story four times in less than a century? I argue that this film has been remade multiple times to reflect a change in society and behaviors, from one version to the next. Particularly, how the leading woman is portrayed changes significantly from version to version, suggesting a growing acceptance of women needing less and less influence from men in order to succeed in their chosen occupation. In this thesis, I highlight the changes in certain key points displayed in all versions of the story, and show how these differences reflect changing attitudes towards women’s empowerment in American society. By highlighting specific tropes that appear in every film, I will compare and contrast how elements such as dialogue, costuming, and cinematography represent the changing societal viewpoints in the decade each version of the film was made.