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
In the George Lorrison's house, Jonathan cuts a drawing from the wallpaper and holds it unrolled. In the next shot he is holding it in half rolled up. See more »
When an audience pays to see a picture like this, what are they paying for?
To get the pants scared off of 'em.
And what scares the human race more than any other single thing?
[crosses to wall switch and turns out the light]
Of course. And why? Because the dark has a life of its own. In the dark, all sorts of things come alive.
Suppose... suppose we never do show the cat men. Is that what you're thinking.
No cat men!
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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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