The Bad and the Beautiful

The Bad and the Beautiful

“You gave me your word.” “So I did.”

Known mostly for his musicals, Vincente Minnelli was a man who dabbled in other genres from time to time. The funny thing I noticed about that, though, while watching The Bad and the Beautiful, as that the film still had the sentiment and the mentality of a musical; it still felt like one, just without any songs. Starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner, the film is ultimately a by-the-note Hollywood production about some very un-Hollywood practices, or at the very least some practices Hollywood would rather not acknowledge.

The film is reportedly loosely based on the life of wildly successful Hollywood producer David O. Selznick, and in that vein it shares a bit of similarity to Citizen Kane. Selznick, though, either never knew about the supposed connection, didn’t care, or it never was there at all, since he did nothing to stop the film’s release. I can only hope this film isn’t that connected to Selznick and his actual work practices, as the entire film is about a hotshot up-and-coming producer and how he ultimately screws over everyone who works with him. Not the most flattering comparison to be made to oneself, I’m sure. Frankly, I’m amazed a film so throttling to the whole producing side of Hollywood even got made at all, and not just that, it got a star backing and a fine production team, who turned it into a fine film in its own right.

Fun fact: The Bad and the Beautiful currently holds the record for the most Oscar wins by a film not nominated for Best Picture, so it’s got some credentials behind it. Still, my standards seemed to have been raised a bit, and this is one of those films that would’ve been better had I seen it earlier in my quest, before my standards went that much higher. It’s a great flick, except it’s driving for par rather than for an eagle, and I’m expecting a lot more daring and gumption from the films I have left. This is somewhat unfair to films like The Bad and the Beautiful, and I’m sure there are more like this film left on the list that I have yet to see, so I’ll try and be a little more fair to them in the future by setting a bit of an example now. As long as you don’t hate old movies, I think you’ll get through this one just fine; it carries itself well throughout the running time, and is rarely stagnant for the length of it. For as old as it is, it holds up just fine.

Arbitrary Rating: 8/10

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