A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
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
Given that the character of Jonathan Shields seems clearly based on David O. Selznick, there is a certain comic irony in the film, in that Shields's greatest flop, which destroys his career in Hollywood, is a costly Civil War epic. Selznick, of course, had his biggest-ever success with "Gone With The Wind". See more »
In the studio, when Rosemary talks to Jonathan about her home in Hollywood, he has his right arm folded, holding the cigarette. In the following shot, just before they leave, he has his right arm by his side. 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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