Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Bad and the Beautiful

The Bad and the Beautiful tells the story of a heartless producer, and although not quite in the same league as the other 1950s Hollywood scandal and corruption classic Sunset Boulevard, it is a powerful condemnation on its own. The story of powerful producer Jonathon Shields (Kirk Douglas in a commanding performance) begins when three of his former colleagues are called in by producer Walter Pidgeon to work on Shield’s latest project. All three hold the utmost contempt for him and the bulk of the film will consist of three segments, where each will tell the story as to why they refuse to work with the once great filmmaker. Barry Sullivan plays an aspiring director who teamed up with Shields and broke into the industry only to be stabbed in the back. Lana Turner plays the alcoholic bit player who is given a big break by Shields, only to be misled. Dick Powell plays a writer whom Shields lures to Hollywood , who will soon face a tragedy involving his star struck wife (Gloria Grahame in an Oscar winning performance). The Bad and The Beautiful drags at parts, but each segment is punctuated with segments of scenes and intense acting. The way the story is told is unique and engaging though, and provides a fine prism through which to view a corrupt Golden Age of Hollywood.