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 »
[to Georgia about her screen test]
And I know I'm right about you. I gave you no help. The test was atrocious, but bad as it was, it proved one thing: when you're on the screen, no matter who you're with, what you're doing, the audience is looking at YOU. That's star quality... Lorrison quality.
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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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