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The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Unrated  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  9 February 1953 (Brazil)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 9,183 users  
Reviews: 94 user | 60 critic

An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.



(screenplay), (story)
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Vanessa Brown ...
Sammy White ...
Ivan Triesault ...


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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The story of a blonde who wanted to go places, and a brute who got her there - the hard way! See more »


Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 February 1953 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Memorial to a Bad Man  »

Box Office


$1,558,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


All of the scenes set at Jonathan Shields' studio were shot on the MGM lot, using the studio's actual facilities. In addition to studio sets, the film would also feature location shots of the Beverly Hills Hotel and of Lake Arrowhead. 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 »


James Lee Bartlow: Yes, this is James Lee Bartlow... Paris?... Mr. Shields!... is Mr. Shields paying for this call?... All right, put him on... Hello, Jonathan? Drop dead.
See more »


Referenced in Executive Suite (1954) See more »


Don't Blame Me
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Performed by Peggy King
See more »

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User Reviews

that bad, bad producer
18 May 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A story of betrayals and misunderstandings in the festering underbelly of Hollywood; this is Vincente Minnelli's cool expose of the workings of a producer (Kirk Douglas, as one of the movies' great detestable characters) and the effect he has on those who come into contact with him: a director who feels abandoned yet goes on to produce his greatest work (Barry Sullivan); an actress who is rescued from semi-alcoholism and turned into a star (Lana Turner, in one of her trademark parts); and a prize-winning novelist who is uprooted to shape his book for the screen (Dick Powell, in one of his last film roles before moving into television and film directing).

We see their stories in a series of flashbacks, linked by the three enemies of Douglas coming together in the office of studio biggie Walter Pidgeon – who coolly reminds them of the good things the producer brought to their lives along with the bad. There are other good performers in smaller roles – Gloria Grahame as Powell's twittery wife, Gilbert Roland as the Latin temptation, and so on. ‘The Bad and the Beautiful', filmed in good old black and white, has plenty of meat to keep you watching. Only the slightly twee ending lets it down, but you can't have everything.

33 of 51 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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