Film: The Bad and the Beautiful

Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) used to be a great studio mogul in Hollywood, but his perfectionism has practically bankrupted his studio. He calls three former associates, Academy Award winning director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), blockbuster actress Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), and novelist-turned-screenwriter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell), to help him with a film that could save his studio.

Except his need for perfectionism also caused him to betray each of these three associates, so they want nothing to do with him. The studio's former head, Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon), pleads for them to help, and the film plays out with each of the three recalling their time with Shields.

The film is one of the "Hollywood on Hollywood" genre, and is part of the library of congress. It is also a mix and match of real people in the business, almost bordering on Roman Clef.

This film contains examples of:

  • Ambiguous Ending: The three main characters reject Shields's offer, but when eavesdropping on a call between Shields and Pebbel they seem to show some interest, but the film ends before we know if they change their minds.
  • B-Movie: What Shields's studio made until he bought it out.
  • Chewing the Scenery: The scene where Shields betrays Georgia is supposed to be him revealing his "true self" to her, but it's pretty hammy compared to the rest of his performance.
    • What's just as over the top is the next scene, with Georgia in her car, weeping and then finally breaking into screams. All the while she's still driving.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Shields, even when he doesn't have to be. He prefers to go behind people's backs rather than telling them things outright.
  • Doing It for the Art: In-Universe. Shields puts the quality of his films ahead of anything else, even to the point of not releasing a film vital to the studio's bottom line because he thinks he directed it poorly.
  • Epic Movie: Shields's rise to fame starts when he convinces Pebbel to make the adaptation of a bestselling novel, and it's the studio's first big budget film, though Shields screws Fred out of the directing job.
  • Executive Meddling: In-Universe. Shields is continually dissatisfied with one director, who finally has enough and tells him that he can direct the film himself if he's going to make so many demands. It doesn't turn out well, as Shields himself admits.
  • High Class Gloves: Georgia buys a pair of black gloves to go with her evening dress and the lining of her mink wrap, so she would look her best at a Hollywood dinner party.
  • Horrible Hollywood: The film takes place in the movie business for all the protagonists.
  • How We Got Here: The movie is made of three long flashbacks, one for each of the people Shields wants to help him.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Shields concedes that his father was "the king of the heels" and notes that he was held in such low regard when he died that he literally had to pay the mourners at the funeral to be there, but all he takes from that is that he'll have to be an even bigger bastard to pay back those who failed to give the Shields name the proper respect.
  • Latin Lover: Gaucho. He's even referred to as such.
  • Lonely Funeral: The funeral of Shields' father, Hugo who was also a film producer. Plenty of "mourners" show up, but only because Shields paid them.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Shields and Fred utilize the concept to turn a low budget horror movie from Special Effect Failure to psychological horror.
  • Parental Issues: Both Shields and Georgia had to crawl out from the shadows of their fathers.
  • People in Rubber Suits: Shields and Fred are assigned to make a low-budget horror film about cat men, who are supposed to be played by people in crappy suits. They declare that "five men dressed like cats look like five men dressed like cats", and they make the film without showing the monsters.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The fox-trimmed dress Georgia wears to the premier of her film, as well as the Gorgeous Period Dress outfits in the films.
  • Pretty in Mink: At least one major fur is worn in each flashback.
    • Fred's girlfriend wears a white ermine jacket to a party.
    • Georgia wears a dress and cape trimmed with white fox fur to her film premiere.
    • When Bartlow is brought to Hollywood Shields offers to pay for most of their expenses, so Bartlow's wife Rosemary buys a mink coat and a white mink wrap among many other things.
  • Right in Front of Me: How Fred met Jonathan. He was one of the paid "mourners" at the funeral of Jonathan' father, but he coludn't resist making snide comments about the deceased to the guy next to him. Unfortunately, the guy next to him was Jonathan.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Shields holds his principles above money, but often his principles make him more of a jerkass than a greedy person would be.
  • Villain Protagonist: Shields is willing to step on people to get what he wants, even unintentionally.