Sunday, March 17, 2013


Directed By: Vincente Minelli
Written By: Charles Schnee
Story By: George Bradshaw
Cinematography By: Robert Sutrees
Editor: Conrad A Nervig

Cast: Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan, Gloria Grahame
Told in flashback form, the film traces the rise and fall of a tough, ambitious Hollywood producer Jonathan Shields, as seen through the eyes of various acquaintances, including a writer James Lee Bartlow, a star Georgia Lorrison and a director Fred Amiel. He is a hard-driving, ambitious man who ruthlessly uses everyone - including the writer, star and director - on the way to becoming one of Hollywood's top movie makers

This movie holds the record for most Academy Awards won by a film not nominated for Best Picture, with five. --Not so much a review more of how I will defend the film and the main character’s actions. So more a mini-thesis.

Lana Turner plays an actor whose career started as a movie extra. Turner started her own career as an extra in A Star Is Born.

This film is more of a potboiler and melodramatic soap opera. Though it has a definite depth to it and a fine leading role played by Kirk Douglas

The character of Shields is regarded as a mixture of David O. Selznick, Orson Welles, and Val Lewton. Georgia, the alcoholic daughter of an iconic actor, is very clearly based on Diana Barrymore. Bartlow, the college professor turned bestselling author turned screenwriter, is thought to be based on Paul Green, a UNC professor who followed a similar career track. Gilbert Roland appearance as "Gaucho" is seen as a self-parody; the Mexican-born actor, once a star in silent dramas, had just appeared as "The Cisco Kid" in a string of B-westerns.

In my armchair psychiatry diagnosis. The lead character does what he does not only for his own success, but he knew that the director would be successful without him so he pushed him away because he knew it was the only way to break apart and betraying him would be the only way he’d leave.

The Actress he cleaned up and made a star, But while he treated her well. She fell in love with him unprompted. He liked her, but never said he loved her. He also probably felt again she was a star, now he got her there. Better for her to stand on her own two feet. She was also too good for him he knew it she didn’t because he knew he would never be satisfied completely. So he’d rather push her away and again he knew the only way to do that was a betrayal. The writer that was a accident he put a plan together it went awry and just never told the writer the truth then slipped up and was forced to admit it to him, but out of it he created his best work, but truly that is the only character who has legitimate beef with him. So by the end I can’t feel that they are all victims of a evil man. Did he do wrong by them yes, but he did a lot of right.

Douglas landed the lead role after Clark Gable had turned it down.

The many things I like about this film other then Kirk Douglas’s performance is how the film shows what goes into each section of putting films together of course. Not in depth but it gives a glimpse of each and how important they all are. I also enjoy the narrative not going from beginning to end, but the present then flashing back to tell the story though by the end it feels like a anthology with stories that are they to teach you lesson or a moral.

Leo G. Carroll's brief appearance as a "demanding" director is a thinly veiled reference to Alfred Hitchcock. When he first came to Hollywood, Hitchcock was under contract to producer David O. Selznick for years. Carroll had roles in many Hitchcock films of this era The film is very melodramatic yet entertaining. I actually felt more sympathetic towards Kirk Douglas’s character more then any of the other. That is the power of his performance. (Plus it allows you to see what a product actually does)

The scene showing the production of the fictional low budget horror film was based on how Val Lewton produced Cat People.

I like the film in certain scenes misdirects us we think we know what will happen next. Then the scene unfold unexpectedly.


1 comment:

  1. I watched this one recently, and it's a good film about Hollywood, particularly when you know the backstories that it's referencing, many of which you point out above. A pretty solid picture from this era when I think Kirk Douglas was at his best.