The Bad and the Beautiful

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

Seeing as Kirk Douglas celebrates his 100th birthday today I wanted to make a point of featuring one of his movies to mark the occasion. With one of the great movie stars I figured it would be appropriate to choose a movie about movie-making, not only one of the best of that little sub-genre but one of the best Hollywood has produced. The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) is a carefully crafted piece of work, episodic in structure but with an organic, flowing quality that ensures scenes and sequences segue naturally to provide us with a portrait of a man both shaping and simultaneously being shaped by the cinema. Sounds like a perfect role for Douglas, doesn’t it?

If one wanted to be glib, it could be said the film is the story of a phone call. In fact, it  starts with  a series of telephone calls, three to be exact and each one is rejected with something approaching relish. Three calls to three Hollywood figures, all of whom take pleasure in telling the party at the other end of the line to take a running jump. That guy at the other end of the line is Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), once a big-time producer but now reduced to hearing casual brush-offs across a long distance line. So we’ve got a good hook right here, you do tend to wonder why a man should be summarily dismissed in this fashion. Curiosity is such that we want to know what a man like this has to say, and by the end of the picture those on the screen clearly share this feeling too. In the meantime, we have the build-up, where studio executive Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) tries to persuade the director (Barry Sullivan), the leading lady (Lana Turner) & the writer (Dick Powell) to at least take Shields’ call and give their collective answer on whether or not they are prepared to work with him one more time.  So, this trio gathers in Pebbel’s office while he, through flashbacks, recalls the way their lives and careers became entwined with that of Shields, and why they feel the way they do about him.

 Hollywood thrives on narcissism, it loves to look at itself and can’t resist encouraging us to look at it while it indulges in this introspection. You could say that’s indicative of the all-consuming vanity of the movies, the conviction that audiences will be fascinated by the chance to peek behind the cameras and glimpse the artists and technicians at work and play, that there’s no drama as compelling as the everyday lives of the filmmakers themselves. And I guess they’re right, there’s always been a market for celebrity watching and this has shown no sign of abating any time soon, if anything it’s more intense than ever these days. We sometimes hear about stripping away the glamor but the classic Hollywood exposés didn’t really do that, sure they showed the less savory side of the business and those involved in it but even so they couldn’t help making it look good. As the title of this film suggests, there are some rotten people on screen but they and the world they inhabit remain beautiful and captivating. The Oscar-winning Charles Schnee screenplay focuses on the ruthlessness, the lack of scruples of Shields, the way he’s consistently used and manipulated his colleagues to attain success. Yet, for all that, despite the duplicity and the betrayals, the milieu holds our attention and we’re never allowed to forget that Shields brought success even to those he hurt.

Director Vincente Minnelli clearly enjoyed turning the cameras around since he, and Douglas, would return to the theme 10 years later when they made Two Weeks in Another Town, again scripted by Schnee and produced by John Houseman. He’s always going to be best remembered for his musicals but it has to be said he had a marvelous talent for well-judged melodrama – this movie, the aforementioned Two Weeks in Another Town, Home from the Hill and the dazzling Some Came Running are significant artistic achievements and add up to a highly impressive mini-filmography by themselves.

 Kirk Douglas was second billed in The Bad and the Beautiful behind Lana Turner and earned himself his second Oscar nomination. He didn’t win (losing out to Gary Cooper in High Noon that year) and claims in his autobiography to have been surprised by the nomination, believing his roles in Wyler’s Detective Story or Wilder’s Ace in the Hole were more worthy of such an honor. I think this says something about the way Douglas views his own work, seeming to prefer the more driven and less sympathetic parts. While there is much to dislike about Jonathan Shields, it’s said that Minnelli worked on Douglas to bring out the nicer side of the character and tone down the more explosive and less likeable aspects. Which is not to say he doesn’t explode at any point – he does have two fairly intense, in-your-face scenes opposite Lana Turner, but it probably wouldn’t feel like a proper Kirk Douglas film if they weren’t there.

Lana Turner wasn’t an actress who ever impressed me all that much, meaning she was always someone you noticed in a movie (her looks kind of demand that) but whose roles were frequently less memorable, with a few notable exceptions. I think The Bad and the Beautiful ranks as one such exception. The fact she was playing an insecure, alcohol dependent star was an advantage as it required a degree of fragility and vulnerability that Turner was able to convey successfully. In terms of awards though, the big winner among the actresses was Gloria Grahame, who scooped the Oscar for best supporting actress. Grahame was a terrific screen presence, sexy and credible in just about everything I’ve seen her in. Her part in this film is a small one, confined to the section with Dick Powell, yet she doesn’t waste a moment of the time she has. Powell was fine too as her cynical husband, adding an intellectual spin to the kind of insolence he had down pat by this stage. I generally like Barry Sullivan, he was one of those guys who could be a hero or villain (or even something in between) quite effortlessly. He was good enough as the director who sees his idea stolen but it’s an undemanding and perhaps a bit of a thankless part under the circumstances. And there’s plenty of depth in the cast – Walter Pidgeon, Leo G Carroll, Gilbert Roland and Paul Stewart all make contributions.

 This is a movie where some people like to see if they can pick which cinema personality each of the main characters was based on – Douglas’ lead appears to be a composite of sorts with the characteristics of at least two producers (one of whom is a cult favorite) on view. Of the others, some are pretty obvious (Lana Turner’s part, for example) while others (like Barry Sullivan) are less so. I won’t go naming any names here – it might spoil a little bit of the fun for some and anyway the curious can easily search online for clues/opinions. That’s just trivial stuff though, the movie provides a masterclass in professionalism and polish where there’s next to nothing to fault in the direction, writing, photography (another Oscar there for Robert Surtees) and acting. The Bad and the Beautiful is an extremely smooth and classy piece of filmmaking, Hollywood writing its own lore and having a good time doing it. The film is easy to find and looks good too, at least my old Warner Brothers DVD does. Viewed for the first or the fiftieth time, it still satisfies.

It’s a rare thing to be able to post something on the occasion of the 100th birthday of a living screen legend, a bona fide star of the Golden Age of cinema, and it gives me a real kick to be able to do so on the day Kirk Douglas hits three figures – congratulations to him and may he see many more.

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60 thoughts on “The Bad and the Beautiful

    • Yes, the consensus seems to be that it’s a composite of three people, one being especially dominant. I always though the Welles allusions were the weakest though, and I’m not sure I’d have picked up on them had I not read about them.

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      • Producer John Houseman always claimed OW denied him credit, including the script of Citizen Kane. And Welles was apparently even more seductive than Shields. While there are other personalities in the mix, the OW one is personal.

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        • Oh, I don’t doubt any of that for a moment, Bill, given Houseman’s collaboration with Welles. When I was made aware of that aspect, then it made sense but I know I didn’t pick up on it just from what was on screen when I first saw the movie. Mind you, that probably really says more about my own ignorance at that point than anything else.

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            • Yeah, it ties in once you note Houseman as producer and then make the connection with his earlier work. That’s stuff I only learned about much later, which is something I enjoy about the movie-watching experience – all the influences and connections that aren’t always immediately apparent to us.

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  1. A fine account of a movie that I too like a lot.

    I grinned as I read your comments on Turner, because they so much echo my own. In most of her outings, in my opinion, she did nothing more than be sultrily camera-friendly; but here she actually had to act, and she acquitted herself pretty well. It’s a pity she didn’t have a few more roles like this.

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    • Thanks, John. There are some people whose presence in a movie alone is more than enough to raise your interest in it but I never really felt that way about Turner. I certainly never regarded her as a reason not to watch a film but she wouldn’t draw me to it. The kind of role here does help a lot, I think. It forced her to work on the imperfections and that puts it on a different level.

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  2. These movies are extraordinary and fascinating to watch. They are “crafted”, as you say. The writing, the casting, the sets, the acting, the direction, everything … amazing! A unique and Quality feel to the whole thing – don’t make ’em like this anymore. The studio system had it’s faults I’m sure. And much that came out really wasn’t good, BUT when it was … it was Great.

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    • Yes, it’s a case of watching the whole well-oiled machine operating perfectly and swinging smoothly into action. A film like this does indeed have quality stamped into its surface, there’s nothing about it that feels faked or insincere, and the entire production is pure professionalism.

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  3. Really nice that you celebrate Kirk Douglas’s centenary, Colin, particularly as he is about the only major male star still alive from the classic era. And the film you chose is a powerful and classy example. As JCAlberta says above, when a really well-made movie was made during the studio system years it is pretty unbeatable.
    Kirk was a brave actor who relished playing ‘nasty’ or perhaps just exploring the good/bad sides that all of us are capable of. Not many actors in the late 40s and early 50s would have been prepared to risk their popularity in this way.
    Great choice and fine writing, Colin!

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    • Well he’s one of my favorite actors from that era, Jerry, so I didn’t want the occasion to pass unmarked by me.
      He never shied away from challenging parts and did appear to seek them out where possible, something which, as you say, wasn’t always so common.
      I think the reputation of the studio system has seen some rehabilitation in recent years – all the negative aspects have been examined in detail, some in this movie for that matter, but the high quality work that could be produced stands as proof of how good it was capable of being.

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  4. Great choice Colin and I think you are right – Douglas, a bit like Mel Gibson, seems to have loved playing hard-to-like characters with a self-destructive streak, but this is a deeply romantic movie at heart. I can;t think of a single film with Lana Turner where I really thought she was the main attraction for me, even in the likes of IMITATION OF LIFE, there never seems to be enough vulnerability on show.

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  5. For the first or fiftieth time….. so true. Always a captivating film and one that hooks those of us who love the classic era of movie making. In tiny bits it offers us a look at the backlots which is fine, the rows of staircases, the low budget western shoot and then the stars. Kirk’s just great here and is it just me or is Gilbert Roland a “cool” screen presence during this portion of his career.

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    • Being a man of fine taste, you’re a fan of this film too, Mike, as can be seen here.
      I like Gilbert Roland as well and, yes, I think was pretty cool on screen. There’s a good deal of good-natured and knowing parody in his playing in this film. But he was very versatile and could slip between lighter and heavier roles and even moments within roles quite easily.

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  6. Happy birthday Kirk! And congratulations Colin, on a top notch review. It’s a great film, isn’t it, and there’s really nothing to dislike about it. While Douglas is rightly the main attraction, it’s actually Dick Powell and his world weary ‘I started to work’ that sticks with me. Brilliant stuff, of course, directed by a master and with all the talents at the top of their game. As for the main man, it’s definitely up there with my favourites – I love Kirk’s willingness to play unsympathetic characters, doing so with relish (I remember watching ACE IN THE HOLE for the first time and finding it hard to believe such a big star would throw himself into it so fulsomely) but as capable with conventional leads, even family flicks – I still have it that 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA is perfect fare for all ages. What a dude!

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    • Thanks!
      Yes, the Dick Powell segment of the film is very memorable – Powell himself is as delightfully resigned as only he could manage and it certainly doesn’t hurt any that he’s so well supported by Gloria Grahame.

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  7. As mentioned above, Two Weeks in Another Town makes a bookend. Set when Hollywood was giving in to international productions. Kirk plays a fading star who’s featured in a B&B clip. There’s even another dramatic breakdown scene in a car.

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    • Yes, I featured Two Weeks in Another Town exactly 12 months ago. It’s not as good a movie (few are though) but having some of the same people involved and setting it once again in the film world makes it an interesting companion piece. It also uses color to great effect, something Minnelli became extremely adept at.

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  8. Look away for part of the week and Colin comes back! And with a great film.

    I’ve always loved this–my favorite “Hollywood on Hollywood” movie and ranks in my top tier of Minnelli, though I treasure two other of his melodramas that you mention–SOME CAME RUNNING and HOME FROM THE HILL–even more (TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN suffered some compromises in studio reediting but is still great as well).

    Since I’m working on my own book on Minnelli, I don’t want to get into too much critique of this here and mostly like what you say anyway. I find Shields not only a compelling character but in so many ways likable and sympathetic–the things he does to others seem ruthless but it’s not because he doesn’t care about each of them and they are adults who play their own part in this.

    I hadn’t heard that Kirk Douglas thought this was a less challenging role and wonder if he is the best judge of this since it’s one of his most complex characters and he is at his very best. Anyway, that’s what counts and he can values his movies however he wants to–personally, I think he can be very strong as more relaxed and likable characters (as in THE BIG SKY) than the driven and more neurotic types he often played.

    I agree with what has been said about Lana Turner–she is very limited, but my feeling is that Minnelli got the very best out of her in a role for which, as you observe, she was very well-cast and this is her best performance, showing genuine vulnerability. For me, the part around Barry Sullivan as the director (especially the payoff scene there) is more dramatically strong than you allow. But I do agree that the final flashback around Powell/Grahame is truly memorable–lots of tense and at times deeply troubled marriages in Minnelli and it’s something he’s really good at.

    Really, I love his command of the whole “aesthetics” of this black and white (I’m referring just to the visuals here) world, which are pulled together in a seamless organic whole that is absorbing throughout.

    Good to see you writing here, Colin, whenever it is.

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    • Hi, Blake. I’ve no doubt that book on Minnelli will be a treat when you get it finished as I know, from what you’ve said before as well as above, that he’s a director whose work moves you and draws your admiration.
      As for this film, Douglas refers to it quite briefly in his autobiography and I wish he’d written a little more about it but, as you say, that’s his prerogative. I take your point about the Barry Sullivan section as it does indeed have a fine conclusion. Perhaps its position, both in the timeline and within the structure of the movie, makes it feel slightly less intense. It’s really fine though and not something I’d look upon as a significant weakness.
      And it’s nice to be writing something again, even if I’m not sure how regular it will be yet.

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  9. While you answered here, I read your TWO WEEKS IN ANOTHER TOWN piece, thInking I must have read it then but not remembering it when I did now. And I see that I didn’t comment so maybe somehow I was distracted that week or something (or simply read it and didn’t remember it).

    Anyway, that was a really good piece too, and I see you also noted the studio recutting (Minnelli and Houseman, as well as Douglas, complained about this and really felt it hurt). But you are exactly right–whatever was cut, the center of it, the portrait of Jack Andrus and his personal struggles, still comes through very eloquently, and taken with Minnelli’s stylistic command and deep engagement with the character and the story, are enough to make it a movie that still holds up.

    I felt Kirk Douglas was especially great in that one too, as he also in TBATB and perhaps most of all of three Minnelli films, LUST FOR LIFE. Whatever he did say about TBATB in his autobiography, I know from other statements that he rightly did consider Minnelli one of his best directors (and I’d say THE best) and their admiration was mutual, because Minnelli especially valued him among so many gifted actors and actresses he worked with over his career. All three roles in his Minnelli films are artist figures and have Minnelli’s own intense engagement in them as well as Kirk’s wonderful acting, so they are very layered creations.

    I’ve always been a Kirk fan–he’s in so many good movies and generally makes such a great contribution. Nice to see him make it to 100.

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    • Oh Two Weeks in Another Town does hold up despite the changes to it. If it’s not as strong as this film, it still compares more than favorably to the work of a lot of other people.
      You know, I haven’t seen Lust for Life for maybe 25 years – your mention of it here has just reminded me of this. I guess it’s due a revisit.

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  10. Firstly,rather belatedly congrats to Mr Douglas on his milestone birthday. Secondly, congrats Colin for bringing back RTHC after a considerable lay off.

    I have not seen THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL and I enjoyed reading your well researched essay. Sadly,I’m not too keen on Hollywood on Hollywood type pictures.
    For what it’s worth my all time fave Kirk Douglas picture is MAN WITHOUT A STAR-I just love his banjo pickin’ drifter in that film-I also loved the moment
    when he calls Richard Boone “pig face” Oddly enough Boone played Kirk’s father in THE ARRANGEMENT although they were more or less the same age.

    What’s really drawn me into all this is the way this most entertaining series of discussions has morphed into an appreciation of Douglas Sirk. I am pleased to hear that the Blu Ray of CAPTAIN LIGHTFOOT is stellar – such a beautiful looking film-one I’ve had on the back burner for several months now.
    The Elephant Blu Ray of SIGN OF THE PAGAN is not top drawer but I understand that the CinemaScope version was considered lost and this version though far from perfect is the only one that survives….more on that later. Elephant have an arrangement with Universal,direct and i must admit all their transfers
    have been top notch-no wretched “forced” subs either. They have an on-going series of Douglas Sirk releases and next year they are concentrating on lesser known Sirk pictures. If the info on imbb is correct MEET ME AT THE FAIR and HAD ANYBODY SEEN MY GAL will be Blu Ray releases. Elephant are also releasing TAKE ME TO TOWN, which I have never seen but gets a high recommendation from out friends Laura and Blake.What has not been announced is TAZA,SON OF COCHISE and I have heard that Universal are going to release all their 3D films as 3D/2D Blu Rays and are not leasing them to other imprints. There is considerable interest in vintage (Fifties) 3D films with Twilight Time slowly going through the Columbia/Sony library…THE MAD MAGICIAN follows shortly and Raoul Walsh’s GUN FURY is in the works. Kino Lorber are going to release all the Paramount 3D titles which include the two excellent Edward Ludwig pictures SANGAREE and JIVARO. JIVARO will be most attractive as it will be in 1.85 widescreen. I might add I don’t have the facility to view 3D at home-furthermore I feel 3D is really a “cinematic” experience-but I am more than happy to have high definition versions of old favorites-especially when only 4×3 versions have been previously available of certain titles.

    Elephant have lots of Universal goodies announced for 2017 on Blu Ray including the Westerns NIGHT PASSAGE and ULZANA’S RAID. According ti IMDb Joseph Pevney’s’ impressive MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES will debut as a Blu Ray release.- in spite of my earlier statement, I have nothing against Hollywood Bio-Pics.

    We have had on-going conversations of the “missing” universal titles especially several Fifties CinemaScope Westerns. It would seem even non CinemaScope films are hard to find in good shape. Koch in Germany hoped to release THE SPOILERS (1955) as a 2.0 widescreen version but the only version Universal had was the not in very good shape 4×3 version.-it’s far from perfect but is the best of all versions available.
    I understand, Colin, you mentioned interest in the Koch version of RAW EDGE – I am happy to report that it’s a stunning looking 2.0 widescreen version-the lovely location work shines on this version.

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    • Lots of great info there as usual, John, so thanks very much for sharing that. There’s plenty that catches my interest in what you’ve posted there, and I’ve no doubt others will feel the same.

      You know, I hadn’t realized you were a Sirk fan and can’t recall whether or not his name came up much in previous chats. Anyway, I shouldn’t be surprised by the information – Sirk’s work is always admired by people of taste, and you’ve demonstrated many times that you are most certainly a man of good taste.

      BTW, if you feel like seeing The Bad and the Beautiful, just let me know.

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  11. Thanks Colin,and thanks for sorting out my dodgy line breaks- I’ll figure it out one day.
    A person of taste-nobody’s ever called me that before especially as far as films go-remember I’m someone who can’t wait to get his copy of PANTHER GIRL OF THE CONGO.
    Hollywood Classics who used to supply the masters for many UK (and Euro and Aussie) imprints are sadly no longer. This has now been taken over by an outfit called Park Circus – http://www.parkcircus.com and unlike Hollywood Classics they have many Paramount and Columbia titles in their vaults. I hope some brave video labels hone in on some of the lesser known titles that they hold.

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    • Taste can manifest itself itself in the less celebrated forms too, John.
      Don’t worry about the line breaks, it’s not something that’s confined to yourself and may actually be related to the template I’m currently using for the site. I like how it looks overall but it’s not without its glitches here and there.
      Speaking of Sony, I imagine you’re aware of Powerhouse/Indicator who have licensed some titles for UK Blu-ray release. Aside from what they already have out, there The Lady from Shanghai on the way next year. And of course we now have Criterion UK offering up some interesting stuff.

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  12. With the demise of Hollywood Classics many Euro imprints are dealing with the majors direct-Koch and Elephant with Universal and Explosive and Sidonis with Columbia/Sony. The recent excellent Eureka Blu Ray of THE MAN FROM LARAMIE was sourced direct from Sony.
    I am very aware of Powerhouse/Indicator and understand they have leased some 80 titles from Sony-to be drip fed over a considerable period. They have announced Fleischer’s wonderful THE NEW CENTURIONS, a supreme (if very downbeat) cop thriller with themes that are very current today-much of this 45 year old picture seems to have been torn from today’s headlines.
    I never knew about the Indicator release and already got the Carlotta Blu Ray and it’s a sensational transfer. The Carlotta release has subs that are easy to remove-but some of their titles do have “forced” subs so it’s always worth checking with them first. I understand that a 45 minute documentary on the making of the film (from Germany’s Fiction Factory-in English with removable subs) will be carried over to the Indicator release. Star Stacy Keach says that he found Fleischer very much a stickler for detail but also that he was extremely personable and certainly not a “screamer” like some directors.

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    • I recently got that new edition of The Man from Laramie and it’s a terrific disc, highly recommended.
      On Powerhouse, I also meant to say they have mentioned that they plan to dig into the Hammer/Sony library, promising some rarities.

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      • That’s wonderful news Colin-I’d love to get THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER on Blu Ray.
        I wonder if they might be able to unearth the rarest of all Hammer Films THE UGLY DUCKLING, a Jekyll & Hyde spoof-darker than Lewis’ picture. Legend has it that Lewis purchased the master neg from Columbia and destroyed it as he was preparing THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. Total nonsense of course but a cute theory.

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  13. Colin-I’ve now been given the chance to watch THE BAD & THE BEAUTIFUL and agree with you and everyone else that it’s a supremely crafted picture.
    Sadly as mentioned before the film is out of my “comfort zone” and the appeal to me was far less than to yourself and other contributors. I will say however that Douglas is superb in the film and it was a great choice for your “birthday tribute”
    As I mentioned previously I’m none to fond on “Hollywood On Hollywood” type pictures…to each his own. Having said all that I’m glad I finally saw it and it’s always good for film fans to step out of their comfort zone from time to time- if there were not so many films being continually released that I love, I would,no doubt be more adventurous. Funnily enough the only Hollywood on Hollywood films that I really like are Schlesinger’s harrowing DAY OF THE LOCUST and Eastwood’s WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART. Both films,as I understand failed to find an audience-especially the Eastwood film which was one of his biggest flops financially.
    WHITE HUNTER BLACK HEART captures the period perfectly and touches on other subjects like colonial racism and anti Semitism. The film was based on writer Peter Viertel’s experiences working with Huston on THE AFRICAN QUEEN- and his “Huston like” character John Wilson.I understand Huston approved of Viertel’s
    novel. I also enjoyed THE AVIATOR to a certain extent but felt Di Caprio was pretty much mis-cast.
    Watching THE BAD & THE BEAUTIFUL I realized how few Lana Turner pictures that I have actually seen. I’ve never been too fond of most of the A-List Screen Goddesses: Monroe,Taylor and Gardner and certainly place Turner in that bracket. When all is said and done I’m more of a Virginia Mayo,Rhonda Fleming, Coleen Gray,Peggie Castle,Mala Powers type of guy.

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    • Yes, it’s not a sub-genre that’s going to work well for everybody, as I suppose no genre can please all viewers. Conversely, I get on better with the “movies about movies” from the 50s and 60s than the more modern versions, although I couldn’t really say why that is.
      On the actresses you mentioned there, I can see where you’re coming from to an extent – some of those big names don’t do it for me either, although I’d have to disagree on Ava Gardner as I can watch her in anything, and I have a hunch that may have something to do with the kinds of films and/or role they tended to feature in.

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  14. Yep! my cineaste friends consider me some kind of Philistine-they’re not far wrong.
    When I say that I don’t care much for Preminger they say “that’s only because he didn’t make Westerns.” (with one exception) They refer to my taste as purely “blood & thunder” Needless to say they all adore Minnelli. I did step out of my comfort zone recently and got the Blu Ray of IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER,.
    The attraction for me was the 2.55 ratio which I adore, as opposed to the usual 2.35 I also loved the extras a couple of classic cartoons,including an anti-nuke cartoon (also in 2.55 in high def) which is both chilling and charming. I might add that the Eureka Blu Ray of THE MAN FROM LARAMIE is presented in 2.55 and it’s sensational-much more of a widescreen effect in that ratio. I might add that the forthcoming Warner Blu Ray of BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK will be 2.55 as well so that’s great.

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    • As you know, I feel a balanced diet of all kinds of movies is a healthy one. I try not to fence myself in too closely and I see no need why others should as there’s value to be had from all kinds of material.
      Sturges used the wide screen just about as well as anyone, and better than most, so Bad Day at Black Rock ought to look very fine indeed in that ratio and in high definition.

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  15. I am a long time admirer of Douglas, Minnelii and this film so glad to see it receive some acclaim here.
    I’m also fond of films that have a behind the scenes Hollywood theme although this and “Two Weeks in another Town” would make it into my favourite films list for their other qualities too. Minnelli directed many musicals for MGM but my top ten of his films would include more of his dramatic titles i.e. the two referenced here and “Lust for Life” “Undercurrent” “The Cobweb” as well as the comedies like “Long Long Trailer”and “The Reluctant Debutante”. The three Kirk Douglas Titles probably at the top.
    As a tribute screening I think my favourite Douglas role choice would be “20,000 leagues under the sea” as I think that is his most enjoyable role although I would rate the Minnellis as his best films all round.
    NB Just a note to mention that Olivia de Havilland achieved her centenary in July this year so there is at least one other star from the Golden era still with us and there may be more.

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    • Jeff, you just reminded me that it’s been a very long time since I watched Undercurrent and also that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen The Cobweb, so I’ll have to try to rectify that as soon as possible.
      And you’re quite right about Olivia de Havilland, and I’m glad you mentioned here here. It’s also worth noting that Norman Lloyd is now 102 years old.

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