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"The Bad and Beautiful" 1952, Vincente Minnelli

“The Bad and Beautiful” is a 1952 Hollywood melodrama film noir directed by Vincente Minnelli and stars Lana Turner as Georgia Lorrison, Kirk Douglas as Jonathan Shields, Dick Powell as James Lee Bartlow and Barry Sullivan as Fred Amiel. In the 1940s and early 1950s, melodrama and film noirs were one of the top genres. This movie in particular had some similar aspects to other famous movies of the early 1940s such as “Citizen Kaine” by Orson Welles and “Double Indemnity” by Billy Wilder. Like the other two other movies, the story starts at what could be the resolution then the movie backtracks several years of what happened leading up to the resolution.

The main plot was about Jonathan Shields, the founder and director of Shields Pictures, Inc. and how his career was as a filmmaker and producer. Three people that knew him and worked for him shared their stories about how Jonathan Shields was as a film producer. Each of the employees had severe major obstacles to face before they worked for Shields Pictures, Inc. and during their time with the company. As a result, these former employees realized he is a terrible and awful person to work with or to even know as a person.

The story began when Jonathan’s father passed away and he wanted to create a business similar to his dad’s, Shields Pictures, Inc. As a result, Jonathan partnered with Fred Amiel to continue to produce movies and would become successful for several years. In their first several years, they produced two movies and by the time they were ready to film their third film, they needed to hire an actress. The actress that Fred and Jonathan were able to find was Georgia Lorrison, who was inexperienced in the movie industry. Once Jonathan knew about that, they realized that Georgia and Jonathan like each other. Georgia thought she was a terrible actress at first, and the film production crew also thought she was a terrible actress. She eventually became a better actress as she was starring in more films. As she was becoming a better actress, Jonathan started treating her not so well, and their relationship went downhill. During the downhill, the lighting was dark, and the music sounded depressing because the producer wanted to give the exact feeling of how Georgia and Jonathan really thought about each other.

Then, the story transitions to James “Jim” Bartlow’s perspective where he also had similar issues to Georgia when he worked with Jonathan Shields as a writer for his movies. Jim was a novel writer. Jonathan Shields called him one day, and he was forced to work with him by his wife, Rosemary. His wife died in a plane crash, and Jonathan and Jim began to produce their first movie and as a result, they did not like the way it came out. At the very end, Jim found out from Jonathan that his deceased wife committed adultery with another man, who was involved in the plane crash with his wife. Jonathan knew about this entire affair and he chose not to tell Jim, and once Jim found out, his relationship ended.

This movie was an enjoyable watch because there were stories inside of stories which makes the movie more pleasurable to watch. The actors were very impressive for a movie that is about making other movies. The actors also did an exceptional job of the exact process of how movies are made in backlots or soundstages.

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