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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 October 2011
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) presents "THE BAD & THE BEAUTIFUL" (1952) - (118 min/B&W) -- Starring: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan, Gloria Grahame, Gilbert Roland & Leo G. Carroll

Directed by Vincente Minnelli

Actress Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), and screenwriter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell) are invited to a meeting at a Hollywood sound stage at the request of producer Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon). Pebbel is working with studio chief Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), whose studio is in financial trouble and needs a blockbuster hit. If these three names will sign to a new project, Pebbel is convinced that there's no way he can lose.

But there's a problem - all three of these Hollywood heavyweights dislike Shields (intensely). In the past, Shield had dumped Georgia for another woman, double-crossed Fred out of a plum directing assignment, and was responsible for the death of James Lee's wife.

All three are ready to tell Pebbel to forget it, until they hear the voice of Shields, calling from Europe to discuss the project by phone. Outstanding dialogue with an Oscar winning screenplay.

Kirk Douglas as the corrupt and amoral head of a major film studio in this Hollywood drama - often regarded as one of the film's industry's most interesting glimpses at itself ~ Fabulous viewing ... and what a cast!

Oscar Wins for Best Supporting Actress (Gloria Grahame), Best Screenplay, Best B&W Art Direction, Best B&W Cinematography & Best B&W Costume Design.

Oscar Nomination for Best Actor (Kirk Douglas)

* Special footnote: -- This film holds the record for most Academy Awards won by a film not nominated for Best Picture, with five ~ Douglas landed the lead role after Clark Gable had turned it down ~ Sex is mentioned six times throughout the film. While this may not be a big deal today the filmmakers in 1952 had trouble getting the word to make it past the censors.

BIOS:
1. Vincente Minnelli Director)
Date of Birth: 28 February 1903 - Chicago, Illinois
Date of Death: 25 July 1986 - Beverly Hills, California

2. Lana Turner
Date of Birth: 8 February 1921 - Wallace, Idaho
Date of Death: 29 June 1995 - Century City, California

3. Kirk Douglas [aka: Issur Danielovitch Demsky]
Date of Birth: 9 December 1916 - Amsterdam, New York
Date of Death: Unknown

4. Walter Pidgeon
Date of Birth: 23 September 1897 - Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Date of Death: 25 September 1984 - Santa Monica, California

5. Dick Powell
Date of Birth: 14 November 1904, Mountain View, Arkansas
Date of Death: 2 January 1963, West Los Angeles, California

6. Barry Sullivan
Date of Birthd: 29 August 1912 - New York City, New York
Date of Death: 6 June 1994 - Sherman Oaks, California

7. Gloria Grahame [aka: Gloria Hallward]
Date of Birth: 28 November 1923 - Los Angeles, California
Date of Death: 5 October 1981 - New York City, New York

8. Gilbert Roland (aka: Luis Antonio D'maso de Alonso)
Birth Date: 12/11/1905 - Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Died: 5/15/1994 - Beverly Hills, California

9. Leo G. Carroll
Date of Birth: 25 October 1886 - Weedon, England, UK
Date of Death: 16 October 1972 - Hollywood, California

Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 5 Stars
Overall: 5 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]

Total Time: 118 min on DVD ~ Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) ~ (February 5, 2002)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 January 2014
So says Walter Pidgeon's (penny-pinching) Hollywood mogul Harry Pebbel to a trio of film director, actress and screenwriter as he attempts to get their OK to work (again) with Kirk Douglas' ruthless film producer, Jonathan Shields, in Vincente Minnelli's sharp-scripted (courtesy of Charles Schnee) 1952 tale of the machinations (some pleasant, most not) of the Hollywood film-making 'machine'. Minelli's film, which was based on George Bradshaw's story, is another case of Hollywood 'gazing at its own navel' and whilst, for me, it does not quite match Billy Wilder's masterpiece on the same theme, Sunset Boulevard, it still provides an enthrallingly melodramatic (in fact, on occasion, too melodramatic) take on the subject. Cinematographer Robert Surtees' black-and-white photography is notably evocative (accentuating the film's nostalgic effect), particularly during the many 'film-within-a-film' sequences.

Of course, the other thing Minnelli's film has in common with Wilder's is its narrative told in flashback (which works well here) as each of Barry Sullivan's budding director Fred Amiel, Lana Turner's self-destructive, alcoholic actress Georgia Lorrison and Dick Powell's reserved, academic (now successful screenwriter) James Lee Bartlow all fill us in on their backstories (and their reasons for their falling out with Shields). Douglas probably just about steals the acting honours as the brash, single-minded son of (another) disliked film man - Shields Jnr. is man who pays for 'acting mourners' to pad out his father's funeral and whose 'success at all costs' motive leads to tragic consequences for his 'friends' and associates. The scenes between Douglas and Turner are particularly engaging (although their 'denouement' scene is rather OTT) and Powell is also particularly good as the 'non-Hollywood type' who eventually succumbs to the lure of tinseltown.

In addition to the film's central quintet of Douglas, Turner, Powell, Sullivan and Pidgeon, Minnelli has also peppered his film with great character turns - none more so than that of Gloria Grahame as Rosemary, the flirtatious, star-struck 'southern belle' of a wife to Powell's increasingly distracted and tetchy writer. In addition, we have Paul Stewart as Shields' astute assistant Syd, Leo G Carroll as the stern film director Henry Whitfield, Sammy White as Georgia's bumbling, loser agent, Gus, Gilbert Roland as the womanising Latino actor, 'Gaucho', and a stunning Elaine Stewart as the gold-digging temptress Lila ('There are no great men - only men').

Minelli's film is also a haven for 'homage spotters' - the scene where Shields and Amiel pay a visit to the locked-up decrepit mansion of Georgia's (now deceased) ex-actor father is reminiscent of Citizen Kane and the amusing sequence of the pair being given (by Pebbel) the B-movie The Doom Of The Cat Men ('You gotta use your imagination!') to work on, calls to mind Val Lewton's Cat People films.

The 'not-so-original' flashback structure is also given a brilliantly original 'twist' at the film's conclusion, as Pebbel's sermon on how the 'reluctant trio' may owe 'the devil' a thing or two, actually begins to sink in. Minelli's film is certainly a must-see for anyone with an interest in the machinations of Hollywood.
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on 4 May 2011
This was better than I expected with even the cameo performances were top notch. Douglas, Turner, Sullivan & Powell all on top form as was the delightful Gloria Grahame.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 27 January 2003
Minnelli's film is part of a loose collective of films that show a rancerous side to success, particularly in Hollywood- so it fits well next to films like Sunset Boulevard, aspects of Singin in the Rain, Ace in the Hole, In a Lonely Place & The Sweet Smell of Success.
The Bad and the Beautiful boasts some great performances from Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Dick Powell & Gloria Grahame. Rumoured to have been influenced by real life events & people (as Sunset Boulevard) , this feels like a fusion of Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon and a stylish melodrama (which Minnelli excelled at with films like Home from the Hill and Lust for Life). It does provide a quite cutting portrait of Hollywood and filmmakers, making it an early attempt at the material that films like 8 1/2, Stardust Memories & The Player would excel at. Of course it feels a little dated, it is fifty years old!
Shame that the sequel from 1962, Two Weeks in Another Town, is unavailable- as I think it's just as good & has influenced the films of Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers) & Martin Scorsese (King of Comedy). The Bad and the Beautiful is well worth watching & great value at this price; pity they don't make 'em like this anymore!
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on 21 March 2015
This excellent film from the early fifties bears watching again and again as Hollywood looks at itself. The performances are faultless particularly Lana Turner and Kirk Douglas and of course Gloria Grahame who received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as the flighty wife of Dick Powell Wisely filmed in black and white, it is a classic.
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on 2 August 2014
I have been looking for a DVD of this film for years. I almost wept when it was deleted from my Sky planner. A true Hollywood classic - great acting and a great story.
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on 9 February 2013
Love it. Great DVD and wonderful story. with wonderful actors and you must see it. Bought for a gift. Very satisfied with this item.
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2006
`The Bad And The Beautiful' (1952) was directed by Vincente Minnelli between two of his greatest and best loved musicals `The Bandwagon' (1951) and `An American In Paris' (1953). He had directed other great films such as `Meet Me In St. Louis' (1944) and `Father Of The Bride' (1950) before attempting his dramatic take on the Hollywood Studio system. Making films about Hollywood was nothing new when Minnelli made `The Bad And the Beautiful'. Only a couple years earlier there was `All About Eve' (1950), `Sunset Boulevard' (1950) and `A Star Is Born' in 1937. This may be part of the reason why this film is not so highly regarded, however there are other reasons too.

The fact that `The Bad And The Beautiful' is regarded as film noir probably has more to do with the cast which featured: Lana Turner (The Postman Always Rings Twice, 1946); Kirk Douglas (Out Of The Past, 1947); Dick Powell (Farewell My Lovely, 1944) Gloria Grahame (The Big Heat, 1953) all of whom had starred important noir pictures. Structurally the film is comprised of three flashbacks and uses voiceover frequently to tell its tale, which is all key noir techniques.

I think the film says more about Vincente Minnelli and the changes that were taking place in the worldwide film industry at the time. The studio system, which Minnelli was very a part of, was coming to an end and being replaced by Auteur theory. Films were moving away from studio sets towards location shooting with directors having a lot more control and authorship over their production. The three flashbacks in `The Bad And The Beautiful' I think represents the divisions in the studio system at the time of writer, actor and director battling with a producer and with any attempt to overstep that mark resulting in a rebuff or failure. Within six years the New Wave would abolish those ideas.

I think `The Bad And The Beautiful' had potential to be a great film but is let down by melodrama and some lacklustre acting, character development and direction. It also lacks some of the real grit and cynicism of `All About Eve' or `Sunset Boulevard'. However there are some great moments such as Lana Turner's automotive suicide attempt, which I believe to be the great sequence in the film, but overall I was a little disappointed because I was expecting a lot more. Yet overall I think it's worth seeing at least once.

Other films with similar themes worth seeing also include Nicholas Ray's `In A Lonely Place' (1950) and `Le Mepris' (1963) by Jean-Luc Godard. I think Minnelli will and should be remembered for his musicals, which are superb.
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on 25 January 2015
Great film - black and white but that seems to add to the atmosphere and tension between the lead characters.
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on 27 June 2015
Liked the concept but not the film.Fine acting but too long and boring for my taste.Will not watch again...
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