February 28th, 2014: The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

The Bad and the Beautiful

Cast and Crew: John Houseman (Producer) Gilbert Roland, Leo G. Carroll, Paul Stewart, Barbara Billingsley, Francis X. Bushman

What It’s About:  Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) is a down-on-his-luck, egotistical film producer who asks his money man Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) to get three old friends to help him out.  They are: Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), a director Shields worked with on his way up; Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), the alcoholic daughter of a famous acting family, romanced by Shields to enhance her performance and James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell), a writer. We see the story of each relationship; can Pebbel convince them to look over their sour past with Shields to save his career (and advance their own)?

Why Watch it Today?:  Director Vincente Minnelli was born on this date in 1903.  Although Minnelli is known today for his musicals (and his marriage to Judy Garland which produced Liza Minnelli), Minnelli also directed today’s movie, a backstage Hollywood drama that draws heavily on Hollywood history (including the Lorrison’s resemblance to the troubled Barrymore family and Shields’ early horror movie past working in an anecdote from Val Lewton’s production of Cat People).

Other Choices:  Minnelli directed previous Movies of the Day Brigadoon , Meet Me in St. Louis, and The Long, Long Trailer.

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