An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.
It's a film that starts slow and perhaps takes a little too long establishing his character, and the first story is a little less interesting than the two which follow. The film is told in flashbacks and explains how a director (Barry Sullivan), actor (Lana Turner), and a screenwriter (Dick Powell) don't want anything to do with him anymore after he runs afoul of each in different ways over his career. You see, he's calling them up now and hoping each will work on a new project of his, and none of them even want to talk to him.
The film really picks up with Turner; she turns in a strong performance and I loved the pathos of her story. She plays the alcoholic daughter of a great actor who doesn't have the same talent, and yet Douglas recognizes her star power. The scene where he starts questioning the shrine she has to her father and she attacks him was the point at which I thought the film may really have something. Powell is good too, and aided considerably by Gloria Grahame, who plays his wife and appears at about the 1:20 point and then lights up the screen for the moments she's on it, southern accent and all. What passion there is in the way she kisses Powell's character, and how she says "James Lee, you have a very naughty mind...I'm happy to say." The film's biggest moment belongs to Douglas however, when he explodes at Turner after she comes to his place following an opening night party - one that certainly must be among the best in his career.
Overall, it's an interesting look at Hollywood, and more generally, talent and ambition. I wasn't sure what would happen once the flashbacks were told and we returned to the present, and thought the ending was clever too.
- Apr 28, 2019