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Sunday, January 13, 2013

65 of 1001 Movies: The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

After bringing a sort of show tune to the screen in An American in Paris, Vincente Minnelli, now wants to shows a little of life in the spotlight through the eyes of four people. Minnelli seems to so far like to show the creative type in movies whether it be a painter trying to breakthrough in Paris, or people in the film industry who have all found success. Basically, Kirk Douglas, does what his son, Michael Douglas, does in the Wall Street movies...messes people over.

Georgia, an actress, Fred, a director, and James, a writer, are called on by Harry, a producer, to help out Jonathon who has had three directorial flops in a row. He believes with these three, who are very famous in the industry, that they can help him get back on track by coming together to work. The problem though is that Jonathon sort of betrayed all three of them in some way to further his own career. The three share their own stories of what happened, and why they refuse to help him out.


There are four main characters, but only two are featured on the cover. This isn't really a love story of any sort, but they did by far pick the two most interesting paired together to put on it. What stands out overall about this film is that how it was shot in black and white, but looks amazing. The use of light throughout cast a lot of harsh shadows that work well in somehow making the characters more interesting.

Lana Turner steals the show from most of the others. Her character is an actress sort of following the tragic path of her father, and Jonathon helps bail her out from the path she is on. Of course, the two also begin a relationship making it complicated. Tuner as Georgia though works. She does the whole tragic thing well. Also, Kirk Douglas does the sneaky, sly Jonathon well too. It just seems to be in the lineage of the Douglas family to do characters like this. The most forgettable is Walter Pidgeon as Fred. Maybe it's because he shares his story before Georgia, and Harry, and what happened to him just seemed less monumental than those two. The last one we get to know is Harry though, and Dick Powell does a good job acting, but as again it was more so the surrounding story that made him interesting, than himself.

The story isn't the most interesting thing in the world to watch play out, but it does have it's moment, and it's unique. Also, it's always intriguing to watch old Hollywood in comparison to what it is today. The biggest moments in the story are when you see how exactly Jonathon ticked these three off. It seems what he did got worse, and worse as it goes because each builds off the last betrayal he just made. There are even a few hilarious moments threw in that you wouldn't expect. The most intense scenes are seeing Georgia trying to heal from her rough Hollywood past. The way the lighting in her room is set, and the interaction between her and Jonathon seems real.

The Bad and the Beautiful has it's moments where you see why it is a classic, and other moments it is quite slow. The cast brings some good acting though, especially from Kirk Douglas, and Lara Turner. There is a reason their story is placed in the middle, because it almost feels central. None of the characters are too good, or too bad, and in the end it seems they all realize that.

Rating 3 of 5.




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