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A star is reborn as Judy Garland returns to the big screen in Hollywood

April 23, 2010 | 11:15 am

Bisset-tcm Hollywood may be divided into different kingdoms -- new and old, TV and film, young and distinguished -- but at least one star brings them all together: Judy Garland.

Borgnine-tcm Thursday's world premiere of the newly restored print of 1954's "A Star Is Born" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre brought out an unusually eclectic cross-section of stars, from Cher to Eli Wallach and Tippi Hedren to "Curb Your Enthusiasm's" Jeff Garlin, as well as Lorna and Joey Luft, the offspring of Garland and the film's producer, Sid Luft.

Mingling at Vanity Fair's after-party at Kress were Eva Marie Saint, "Psych's" Dule Hill, Anne Jeffreys, director Curtis Hanson, Ann Rutherford, Buck Henry, Hugh Hefner and "The Office's" Kate Flannery. Off in a corner booth, Alec Baldwin huddled with Jacqueline Bisset, Danny Huston and jewelry designer Nicky Butler.

For the suddenly ubiquitous Baldwin, this was home territory. One of the actor's many ...

Baldwin-tcm ... new hats is host-presenter for classic culture -- introducing TCM's classic films as well as the New York Philharmonic's performances -- and the event was a kick-off for the first TCM Classic Film Festival, running through Sunday. So before the screening, the cable channel's iconic host, Robert Osborne, called Baldwin down to the stage to talk about the film he'll later be presenting on TV.

"I saw Peter Bogdanovich, I said, 'What do I say about 'A Star Is Born'?' He said, 'Good use of the wide-screen format.' "

Indeed, seeing Garland 40 feet tall singing "The Man That Got Away" was actually "a powerhouse thing that can never be translated onto a TV set," as Osborne put it, and a rare opportunity. We say, let's drink to that.

Hefner-tcm At the Kress, classic film buff Hef -- introducing his blond du jour, Crystal Harris, as "my real deal" -- said he was "truly impressed by the restoration" of Garland's famous movie with James Mason, "probably the definitive film in terms of her career. What you see in retrospect is the end of her film career and the beginning of the iconic legend."

For Eva Marie Saint, who met Garland once and knew her babysitter, the screening was a revelation.

"I think this performance was one of the finest of any actor I've ever seen," she said. "It was so complicated and she gave her all to it, and she not only acted well she sang beautiful, she danced gorgeously. I'm so glad I saw it, my God."

-- Irene Lacher

Top photo (left): Jaqueline Bisset arrives at the gala opening for TCM's Classic Film Festival at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Thursday. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

Top photo (right): Ernest Borgnine arrives at the event. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Middle photo: Alec Baldwin arrives at the world premiere of the newly restored film "A Star Is Born" at Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Bottom photo: "Real deal" Crystal Harris plants one on Hugh Hefner's cheek on the TCM red carpet. Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

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