A cop quits the force after too much disappointment in the system. He becomes a bodyguard of a rich recent widow. She is on trial for her husband's murder. He decides to help her clear her name... and get over her husband.
Dave Hirsch, a writer and an army veteran winds up in his small Indiana hometown, to the dismay of his respectable older brother. He meets and befriends various different characters and tries to figure out what to do with his life.
Former film star Jack Andrus is released from a sanitarium where he has lived for the previous three years, suffering from alcoholism, a traumatic automobile accident, and a severe mental breakdown. He's been offered two weeks of work in Rome by Maurice Kruger, his old director, who himself is near the end of his fading career and under pressure from his parsimonious Italian producer to finish his picture on time and under budget. Jack is also pressed from a manipulative ex-wife, a rising but self-destructive young star, the director's shrewish wife, and a temperamental Italian diva who requires handling with kid gloves. When the Kruger suffers a heart attack, Andrus views the opportunity as a last chance at the redemption of his personal life and professional career.Written by
Spencer Tracy was considered for the role of Kruger, but when money became a consideration, Edward G. Robinson was cast because he was cheaper. Robinson was paid $100,000 and filled in for Tracy again for metro in "The Cincinnati Kid" a few years later. See more »
In most of Jack's driving scenes, his steering inputs, or lack thereof, don't match what's going on in the rear-projection background. This is most obvious when he goes on his drunken, reckless drive with Carlotta as his passenger. See more »
When you were a star... there in Hollywood... before Carlotta... did you have a lot of girls? Girls like me?
Not as many as I should have. Certainly not as many as they said I had.
What were you like then?
So famous... and alone.
Everybody's alone - actors more so.
Then why would anyone want to be an actor?
That's a good question.
[...] See more »
The following acknowledgment appears on screen in the opening credits: "We are grateful to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, copyright owners, for permission to use the Academy Award statuette." See more »
A film of love and hate.Between the fallen actor and his aging director;between the director and his hysterical wife;between Carlotta and her former husband;between the young actor and the old one.In a nutshell, an intense melodrama in the vein of these Minnelli extravaganzas ("some came running" "home from the hill" and particularly "the four horsemen of the Apocalypse" -remember the famous scene where the whole family is gathered around the table while a storm is raging-).
Minnelli had already broached Hollywood before in "the bad and the beautiful" the ending of which was one of the most ferocious I know.Excerpts of this 1952 work are used here with stunning results.Douglas watching himself when he was supposed to be young and famous recalls Gloria Swanson watching her silent movies (with her former director Von Stroheim now her butler) in "Sunset Boulevard".
But it's Cinecitta now.A new Italian cinema is rising and Minnelli is aware of that.He had probably seen Fellini's and Antonioni's works and their influence emerge sometimes:Rosanna Schiaffino 's character reminds me of Anita Eksberg in "la dolce vita";the posh receptions have an Antonioni atmosphere("la notte").On the other hand,Douglas's mad drive might have influenced Fellini for his segment of "spirits of the dead" ,"Tobby Dammit" (1968).
But if the movie has a message ,it's this one:If you want somebody you can trust ,trust yourself.Stop hiding in the movie theaters (or in the films),as Douglas's character says to Schiaffino on the beach ,and get a life!
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