The Bad & The Beautiful (1952 – Cinema)

“Don’t worry. Some of the best movies are made by people working together who hate each other’s guts”

I adore dark Hollywood films from the 50s so I went along for a sunday evening screening of Vincente Minnelli’s 1952 movie ‘The bad & The Beautiful’ at the BFI (The second half of a 50s double-bill mentioned in my last post). If you think Alexander Mackendrick’s ‘Sweet Smell Of Success’ or Billy Wilder’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ are deliciously dark then check out the cavernous blackness of this film’s humour.

It’s structured a bit like ‘Rashomon’ in that the story is told by three characters in flashback, except in this case they all tell pretty much the same story. Movie producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) took them from nothing, befriended them, lavished time and money on them, finally betrayed them and then left them with everything. In one scene Shields is actually referred to as ‘The devil’ and we see him as not just a producer of movies but a producer of people. Remaking them into how he sees them and fulfilling their creative potential even if he destroys himself in the process.

Lana Turner gives a brutal performance as the alcoholic and suicidal actress Georgia, who is closet to Shields, sharing some of the same past demons. The cracking script is full of acidic lines and twisted humour while the sexual content must have had the 1950’s sensors hot under the collar. I’m getting this the instant it comes out on Blu-Ray, ‘The bad & The Beautiful’ is a masterpiece.

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One Comment to “The Bad & The Beautiful (1952 – Cinema)”

  1. Lana Turner once acted in a movie, with Jason Robards, a cousin of Colorado Newspaper Columnist, H. Neal Glanville!

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