Friday, October 28, 2011

TOP 300 MOVIES OF ALL TIME: #229 " THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL " (1952)

Vincente Minnelli was noted for musicals, but in 1952 he crafted a great film about Hollywood called "The Bad and the Beautiful". 

The plot centers around Jonathan Shields, played by Kirk Douglas a highly ambitious,successful, but ruthless producer. He manipulates all in his life. It begins with his friend Fred Amiel, an aspiring director played by Barry Sullivan, together they start out crafting well made B horror films until he convinces studio head Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) to finance a hit not "The Far Away Land", but Barry gets stabbed in the back by Kirk. Friendship dissolved.

The next victim is Lana Turner, playing Georgia Lorrison whom Douglas turns into an Oscar winning star and whose company he finds convenient in many ways. As Turner reaches stardom she discovers him elevating his newest starlet to fame. Relationship ended.

The final victim is the staid history professor Dick Powell, who Douglas wants to write a screenplay for a historical novel he authored. He entices Powell to Hollywood from Virginia by enticing his wife by by Gloria Grahame to seductive effect in an Oscar winning role. The problem? She keeps distracting her hubby Powell from his adapted script duties. He convinces Powell to go away to a cabin together to hammer out the final details, while leaving Gilbert Roland as "Gaucho" to keep Powell's wife occupied with tragic results.

They all come to hate Kirk Douglas, but they are all very successful and there is an undertone of gratitude for all of his despicable ways. A great film. 

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