In the post-war, the alcoholic and bitter veteran military and former writer Dave Hirsch returns from Chicago to his hometown Parkman, Indiana. He is followed by Ginnie Moorehead, a vulgar ... See full summary »
Told in flashback form, the film traces the rise and fall of a tough, ambitious Hollywood producer Jonathan Shields, as seen through the eyes of various acquaintances, including a writer James Lee Bartlow, a star Georgia Lorrison and a director Fred Amiel. He is a hard-driving, ambitious man who ruthlessly uses everyone - including the writer, star and director - on the way to becoming one of Hollywood's top movie makers. Written by
The working title, "Tribute to a Bad Man", was later used as the title of an unrelated MGM feature (Tribute to a Bad Man (1956)). One reason for the title change was to add "beautiful", in consideration of the top-billed Lana Turner. See more »
When the director Von Ellstein and Shields are having their big spat on how a just-concluded scene should have been directed and the overall directorial style and vision for the picture, the cuts between the perspective views of their arguing show Shields alternately with tensed outstretched arms and then casually folded hands on the top step of the short ladder or whatever that was he was leaning on. See more »
A bit of a soap opera, this film was divided into three segments as people recalled their experiences with "Jonathan Shields," played well by Kirk Douglas.
"Shields" was a guy interested in making movies and he used people to get to the top. Three of these people tell of their dealings with him, and none of them have too many good things to say.
I liked the first and third segments but didn't care for the middle one with Lana Turner simply because Turner became so melodramatic, too hysterical for me. Barry Sullivan was excellent in the first part and helped get me into the story. He was the director who got "screwed" by Douglas.
Turner was the unknown actress whom Douglas turned into a star while the last part dealt with the key screenwriter for Douglas, played by Dick Powell. I thought Powell was the best of the four main characters of the film but his segment was the shortest, unfortunately. As good as he was, his wife was equally as annoying. She was played by the normally entertaining and alluring Gloria Grahame, who was anything but that in this role. She sounded ludicrous with her fake southern accent. How she won an Academy Award for this role is mind- boggling.
Some classify this movie as film noir, but I dispute that. It's simply a straight drama with soapish overtones. It's well-written, however, and keeps one's interest all the way, so I am not knocking this movie. It has a good things going for it.
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