There have been four movie versions of A Star is Born — five, if you count 1932’s What Price Hollywood?, which tells basically the same story. The one before the smash hit 2018 version with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga hails from 1976, and it starred another powerhouse duo: Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson. While also a box office cash cow, that Star‘s the one with the worst reviews. But at least according to Streisand, it’s the Cooper-Gaga one that deserves the scorn.
In an appearance on the Australian talk show The Sunday Project (as caught by Deadline), Streisand had some very critical words about the 2018 iteration, which tracks one singer as her star rises and another as his falls.
“I thought it was the wrong idea,” the musical and acting legend said. “Look, it was a big success. I can’t argue with success. But I don’t care so much about success as I do originality.”
It’s true that the Cooper-Gaga Star had the same general idea as the 1976 one, which moved it away from Hollywood movie stars and relocated it to the music industry. That said, she thought one of the original ideas for the 2018 version — starring Will Smith and Beyoncé, with Clint Eastwood directing — was a good one.
“I thought…that’s interesting. You know, really make it different again—a different kind of music, integrated actors. I thought that was a great idea,” Streisand confessed. “So, I was surprised when I saw how alike it was to the version that I did in 1976.”
Streisand took credit for moving her Star into the music biz, although arguably the most famous version — from 1954, starring Judy Garland and James Mason — did take place in the world of movie musicals. And as brilliant as Streisand is as both a singer and an actress, she didn’t want to compete with Judy.
“When I did A Star Is Born…Judy Garland was so great in it, I thought, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to do this?” she said. “‘I have to change it. I’ll become a guitar-playing singer-songwriter, and Kris Kristofferson is already a singer-songwriter, and we’ll change the story a bit.’”
If you want to see if Streisand’s right, you can watch her version on HBO Max alongside the Cooper-Gaga. You can stream the Garland-Mason on there as well. For the original one from 1937, with Janet Gaynor and Frederic March, you’ll have to head to IMDb TV.