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
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 »
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 »
James Lee Bartlow:
My first novel, on which I had labored for seven years, was just out. Surprisingly for a scholarly work on early Virginia, it was doing a brisk nationwide sale - possibly because it was liberally peppered with sex. Because, after all, early Virginia was liberally peppered with sex. Could that have been why Hollywood bought it?
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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.
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