A famous Hollywood actress, an award-winning screenwriter and a respected film director are all asked to take part in famed producer Jonathan Shield’s comeback project. When asked to make a decision by studio executive Harry Pebbel, the three explain their reluctance…
With a perfectly-crafted narrative, The Bad and the Beautiful composes an artful depiction of a notorious character. The story is told mostly in flashback form, not unlike Citizen Kane. And like Orson Welles’ film, the protagonist is an ambiguous character. The story unfolds at a suitable pace, allowing viewers to effectively gage Jonathan Shields. The initial scenes create sufficient mystery to pique the interest.
Characters in The Bad and the Beautiful are well developed, and appear authentic. There is something very believable about proceedings, despite the film being set in an environment which will be alien to most. Certain archetypes appear, but even these characters have enough depth to play a plausible role. Some of the figures can be equated with real players in the movie business, such is the beauty of the film.
Much of the action takes place on film sets and in studio offices. There is a real sense that The Bad and the Beautiful is penetrating the real Hollywood, away from the glitz and prestige of the studio era. It seems as if screenwriter Charles Schnee and writer George Bradshaw aimed to give the audience an insight into how the film industry really worked. There are certainly shades of Sunset Boulevard and All About Eve apparent in Minnelli’s film.
Performances in The Bad and the Beautiful are superb. Lana Turner is entirely convincing as Georgia, as is Kirk Douglas as Shields. Excellent support is provided by Gloria Grahame and Elaine Stewart. Visually, the film features some great composition and shot transitions.
Most film fans would agree that films about Hollywood and the motion picture industry are among some of the best films ever made. The Bad and the Beautiful ranks among these great films about Hollywood; it is a superbly executed production.
The Bad and the Beautiful is released at the BFI Southbank from 20th April 2012, as well as selected cinemas acoss the UK.