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
Glossy MGM soaper has many things to recommend it, not the least of which is a surprisingly grounded, natural Lana Turner (looking great, even in ordinary jammies) playing a successful movie actress who, along with a top screenwriter and director, help producer-on-the-skids Kirk Douglas stage a comeback. Not especially revealing about Hollywood, which at this stage wasn't quite ready to unmask itself, but still engaging and intriguing. Douglas is well-cast (he spits out his lines with a terse jaw--nothing new--but he's right for this part and is commendable). Turner is a revelation and deserved at the very least an Oscar nomination for her work; the picture did go on to win Academy Awards in five categories, including Gloria Grahame as Best Supporting Actress; Charles Schnee, Best Screenplay; Robert Surtees, Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White; and Best Costume Design, Black-and-White. Well-directed by Vincente Minnelli, the picture gets less attention than something like "All About Eve", but it's actually more entertaining. *** from ****
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