Star 80
directed by Bob Fosse
(Warner Bros., 1983)

Director Bob Fosse made Star 80 in 1983, just over two years after the brutal murder of 1980 Playmate of the Year Dorothy Stratten at the hands of her husband, manager and wannabe-pimp Paul Sinder. The film is a gritty look at a beautiful tragedy. Modern viewers will be transported back two decades to the styles, colors and attitudes of the late 1970s.

Stratten was a star for one short year. She was Playboy's Miss August for 1979, Playmate of the Year for 1980, enjoyed a brief acting career and then had her life cut short by her obsessively jealous and controlling husband in August 1980. Snider took the Dairy Queen waitress from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Hollywood to start her modeling career and worm his way into the Playboy Mansion. As Stratten's star grew brighter, Snider became more controlling, and his fits often interrupted her modeling and acting work. He was banned from sets, and after Stratten escaped to New York to film a movie by Peter Bogdanovich, she began an affair with the director and left Snider.

The film is told in flashback, opening with a blood-covered Snider talking aloud to an absent Stratten as he destroys pictures of his former wife. The viewer has no illusions about the outcome of the film and the vicious end to the life of a young starlet, played here by a newly enhanced Mariel Hemingway. On an interesting side note (not included in the film), Bogdanovich married Stratten's younger sister Louise after Dorothy was murdered.

review by
Jessica Lux-Baumann

3 November 2007

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