THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL, 1962
Cast: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan, Gloria Grahame
An actress, a director, and a writer are asked to help revive the career of ruthless Hollywood studio bigwig Jonathan Shields. However, all three are reluctant because they have all been used and betrayed by him in the past.
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The quintessential movie about Hollywood movie making The Bad and the Beautiful is an excellent film that stars big names such as Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner and Walter Pidgeon. Each actor gives their best performances and earned Douglas an Oscar nomination. It was one of the first in a long succession of films, some cynical and critical, that satirized, skewered or examined the makings of films in the tawdry 'Hollywood'
Three successful movie industry people - an actress, a writer and a director - are invited to a major studio to hear a pitch from Jonathan Shields, an out of work movie producer to whom they all owe their success. In flashbacks, we learn how and why each of them has come to hate him completely.
In each retrospective or narrated flashback, Shields' legendary life is seen through their eyes. In each story, their careers have benefitted from contact with him. All of them have found success in their careers, but each of them also suffered a personal price.
Jonathan alienates, seduces, double-crosses, betrays, and nearly destroys each of them, in his own self-seeking, prodigious rise to the top. He has no shame in his actions. Fred Amiel, the director, was an assistant director until Shields gave him his big break; when he hires someone else to direct Amiel's dream project, it's the end.
For Georgia Lorrison, an actress, Shields made her into a major star. When he pursues other women, it also marks the end of their professional relationship. For the writer, James Lee Bartlow, Shields plucked him out of some sleepy southern college town and turned one of his novels into a hit movie.
Once again, Shields steps over the line when he arranges for a famous Latin movie star to squire Mrs. Bartlow around and tragedy ensues. Following a career-damaging flop, he is now broke and exiled from Hollywood and a comeback is proposed.
The sage studio head Pebbel requests that Fred Amiel, Georgia Lorrison, James Lee Bartlow help. Jonathan's three former colleagues all flatly refuse each having their own reasons for hating him. Minnelli keeps the film grounded in reality rather than providing the typical Hollywood ending which adds credibility to the film. Truly a masterpiece and an absolute classic, if you havenít seen The Bad and the Beautiful, look for it.