Särkyneiden haaveiden kaupunki / Brustna illusioner / Illusionernas stad. US © 1952 Loew's. PC: MGM. P: John Houseman. D: Vincente Minnelli. SC: Charles Schnee – based on a story by George Bradshaw. DP: Robert L. Surtees. Cost: Helen Rose. M: David Raksin. "The Bad and the Beautiful" theme also composed by Raksin. ED: Conrad A. Nervig. C: Kirk Douglas (Jonathan Shields), Lana Turner (Georgia Lorrison), Walter Pidgeon (Harry Pebbel), Dick Powell (James Lee Bartlow), Barry Sullivan (Fred Amiel), Gloria Grahame (Rosemary Bartlow), Gilbert Roland (Victor “Gaucho” Ribera), Leo G. Carroll (Henry Whitefield), Vanessa Brown (Kay Amiel), Paul Stewart (Syd Murphy), Elaine Stewart (Lila). Helsinki premiere: 12.2.1954 Gloria - telecast: 31.10.1972 MTV1, 25.12.1991 TV1, 21.10.2012 ja 1.4.2013 YLE Teema: K12 – VET 39501 – K16 – 3220 m /118 min
A DFI print viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Vincente Minnelli), 28 Feb 2016
Kirk Douglas, who will turn 100 later this year, gave some of his strongest performances for Vincente Minnelli, including as the ruthless producer in The Bad and the Beautiful.
The Bad and the Beautiful, which itself won 5 Oscars, is still a top "Hollywood on Hollywood" picture, and we showed it fittingly on the evening of the Academy Awards night. (The sun rises in Helsinki ten hours earlier than in Hollywood, and the ones who want to watch the show in real time here need to stay up all night).
It is a tough Hollywood self-reflection from five angles: the executive Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon), the producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), the director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), the screenwriter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell), and the star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner). Shields breaks all their hearts, and they all rise to the top of their game despite that but thanks to him.
The structure of the film is reminiscent of other three-part stories then popular in Hollywood, films such as Unfaithfully Yours and A Letter to Three Wives.
The Citizen Kane / Rashomon connection has also been mentioned. The portrait of the tycoon Jonathan Shields develops like a jigsaw puzzle from the recollections of the other four protagonists. Let's also note the presence of John Houseman as the producer and Paul Stewart among the cast. The Shields building with its "non sans droit" motto brings to mind Xanadu and Manderley.
As often with Minnelli, it's about the relationship between life and art. As often with Minnelli, it's about putting on a show. The scenes about film-making are engrossing. There is true passion in them. We can believe in the charismatic urge in the story of this small team of friends evolving via many hardships from Poverty Row to multiple Oscar winners.
There are tragedies involved. Jonathan Shields in the beginning buries his father, a Hollywood pioneer, so hated that Jonathan has to pay extras to attend the funeral. Among them is Fred Amiel who cannot help saying frankly what he thinks. Jonathan is angry at first, but they become partners.
Georgia Lorrison is the suicidal, insecure daughter of a superstar of the stage and screen (the images on her wall remind us of John Barrymore). Jonathan Shields finds on the wallpaper of their decaying mansion a caricature of his own father as a monster. He cuts it from the wallpaper and hangs it prominently in his own room. Shields bullies Georgia into self-confidence.
A secret of the creativity of the writer James Lee Bartlow is his passion for his wife Rosemary (Gloria Grahame). She distracts him all the time and excites him all the time. In Hollywood circumstances this chemistry is, however, not working, and Shields separates them and even urges "Gaucho" Rivera (Gilbert Roland) to show Rosemary a good time. Their airplane crashes and they die. Bartlow is shattered.
Shields has betrayed them all at crucial moments of their lives, but they have survived. Let's just mention that the way Shields betrayed Harry Pebbel was intentionally losing all his money to him in a card game in order to get a job with him in order to be able to pay back the gambling debt. Now Shields has lost everything again, this time an entire fortune, including Pebbel's, and he asks them all to work for him one more time. The story remains open-ended.
The Cat People parody does not do justice to Val Lewton's masterpiece but the scene where Shields explains the essence of horror is brilliant. "In the dark all sorts of things come alive". You only see the eyes, you only hear a scream.
The Georgia Lorrison story displays Shields's skill in cruel manipulation but also his genuine instinct and sympathy. "To give truth to a performance there is nothing like love". Georgia shines because she believes that Shields loves her. But: "love is for the very young" is Shields's motto. "Love is for the birds" says Lila (Elaine Stewart) with whom Shields spends the night as soon as the premiere has taken place.
The Bad and the Beautiful is an unsettling story about the torment that is film business. I had not seen it for a while. It is certainly worth revisiting. A thrilling score by David Raksin. Exciting cinematography by Robert Surtees.
The print is brilliant.
OUR PROGRAM NOTE BASED ON MÅRTEN PIIL (1964):
OUR PROGRAM NOTE BASED ON MÅRTEN PIIL (1964):
The Bad and the Beautiful on melodraamaa niin kuin vain Hollywoodin parhaat ohjaajat sen osaavat tehdä: loistelias, mahtava, ajoittain hysteerinen, alati viihdyttävä ja älykäs. Elokuvalla ei ole mitään erityisen omaperäistä tai syvämietteistä sanottavaa aiheestaan, karriääri-ihmisen ongelmasta, mutta minkä se kertoo, se kertoo hyvin ja täsmällisesti ja selkeästi.
Elokuvan rakenneratkaisuun on selvästi vaikuttanut Wellesin Citizen Kane. Päähenkilö, temperamentikas ja dynaaminen tuottaja Jonathan Shields nähdään eri henkilöiden kautta, jotka – kuten Citizen Kanessa – valaisevat Shieldsin uran tärkeimpiä vaiheita ja hänen yksityiselämänsä kehitystä.
Elokuva alkaa hienosti rytmitetyllä jaksolla Shieldsin epäonnistuvista puhelinkeskusteluista niiden kolmen ihmisen kanssa, jotka olivat hänen lähimpiä työtovereitaan kunniakkaassa menneisyydessä: ohjaaja Fred Amiel, tähti Georgia Lorrison ja kirjailija James Lee Bartlow ovat nyt menestyksensä huipulla. Jontahan sitä vastoin on ollut pari vuotta sivussa; hän soittaa heille pyytääkseen heitä työskentelemään hänen uudessa elokuvaprojektissaan, jonka hän aikoo tuottaa. Näemme heidän kielteiset reaktionsa – kyyniset, ylimieliset, liikemiesmäiset. Mutta yhtäkaikki kolmikko kutsutaan suurtuottaja Harry Pebbelin toimistoon. Pebbelin mielestä he eivät ole olleet aivan oikeudenmukaisia Shieldsiä kohtaan ja hän pakottaa heidät kunkin miettimään vielä kerran tarkoin suhteensa häneen.
Näemme ensin Amielin tarinan. He kohtasivat Shieldsin isän hautajaisissa ja osoittautuu että Jonathan on ainut joka todella suree vainajaa – muut vieraat ovat mukaan komennettuja statisteja. Amiel on yksi heistä eikä hän oikein täytä surevan ystävän rooliaan, vaan sanoo ääneen hyvin vähän imartelevan käsityksensä vanhemmasta Shieldsistä, joka oli yksi Hollywoodin suurista tuottajista. Ja kuten niin usein amerikkalaisessa elokuvassa (eritoten lännenelokuvassa) vihollisina kohdanneet miehet ystävystyvät. Miehet sanovat suoraan aikomuksensa ja ilma puhdistuu.
Jonathanin suhteessa isäänsä on sekä rakkautta että vihaa; hän tunnustaa että isä oli muuan elokuvateollisuuden suurimmista rosvoista, mutta kuitenkaan hän ei voi vapautua hänen vaikutusvallastaan. Kysymys on miltei perhekompleksista – jos vanhempi Shields kuoli vihattuna, aikoo nuorempi osoittautua enemmän arvoiseksi. Jonathanille Amiel merkitsee välikappaletta tyydyttää tarpeensa. Amiel auttaa häntä ja tulee heitetyksi syrjään.
Lienee käsikirjoituksen heikkoutta, että toiset tarinat paljolti vain toistavat ensimmäisen tarinan ongelmanasettelun: täydellisenä ”ammatti-ihmisenä” Jonathan näkee työtovereissaan vain välineitä, ei päämääriä sinänsä, ja hän joutuu ristiriitaan niiden kanssa, jotka asettuvat hänen tielleen. Ja kuitenkin hänen muotokuvansa säilyy kiehtovana läpi elokuva. Jonathan on varmasti itsekäs, mutta hänen yritteliäs ja rakentava itsekkyyteensä kiskoo kolme ”ystävää” pois keskinkertaisuudesta ja itsesäälistä. Monisyisin on hänen suhteensa Georgiaan, joka Jonathanin tavatessaan on alkoholisoitunut ja nymfomaaninen näyttelijätär. Jonathan tietysti ymmärtää heti hänen isäkompleksinsa (hänellä kun on samanlainen) ja auttaa häntä vapautumaan siitä. Samalla on väistämätöntä, että Georgia rakastuu Jonathaniin ja että tämä hylkää hänet. Jonathan ei tavoittele henkilökohtaisia siteitä, vain ammatillisia.
Mutta hän ei ole mikään taiteilija sanan varsinaisessa mielessä, ja tämä saattaa olla muuan tärkeä syy hänen turhaumilleen. Ennen muuta hän on ihanteellinen tuottaja (Irving Thalbergin tapaan?), sillä hän pystyy innostamaan työtovereitaan ja saamaan kaikkien lahjoista irti parhaan mahdollisen tuloksen. Viimeisessä tarinassa käy kuitenkin ilmi, että hänen tasonsa putoaa vuosien mittaan; lehdistöagentti saa voidella kriitikkoa jolla – kuten hän sanoo – ”on silmät päässä” ja kirjailija Bartlow ilmaisee varsin perustellun epäluulonsa työnantajansa taiteellista integriteettiä kohtaan. Viimeisessä suuruudenhulluuden puuskassaan Shields yrittää itse ryhtyä ohjaajaksi, mutta yritys epäonnistuu kuten hän itsekin selvästi tiedostaa. Hän tunnustaa tappion ja hyväksyy sen seuraukset. Mutta kahden vuoden jälkeen on näillä kolmella ”ystävällä” jälleen tilaisuus työskennellä Shieldsin kanssa. Hyväksyvätkö he? Shields on muuttanut heidän elämänsä, mutta parempaanko suuntaan? Georgia on ensimmäinen joka tarttuu puhelimeen jännittävässä loppukohtauksessa. Minnelli haluaa varmaankin saada meidät mukaansa, että he taipuvat ja tämä näyttää myös psykologisesti oikealta. Kukaan heistä kolmesta ei ole niin vahva persoonallisuus kuin Shields. Hän on muuttanut heidän elämänuransa ja tekee sen varmasti vielä kerran.
– Mårten Piil (Det Danske Filmmuseumin esitteessä 1964)
THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Produced by John Houseman
Screenplay by Charles Schnee
Based on "Tribute to a Badman" by George Bradshaw
Music by David Raksin
Cinematography Robert L. Surtees
Edited by Conrad A. Nervig
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1952, original) Warner Bros. (2002, DVD)
Release dates December 1952
Running time 118 minutes
Country United States
Box office $3,373,000
The Bad and the Beautiful is a 1952 MGM melodrama that tells the story of a film producer who alienates all around him. It stars Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan, Gloria Grahame and Gilbert Roland. The film was directed by Vincente Minnelli and written by George Bradshaw and Charles Schnee.
The Bad and the Beautiful resulted in five Academy Awards out of six nominations in 1952, a record for the most awards for a movie that was not nominated for Best Picture nor for Best Director.
In 2002, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. The theme song, "The Bad and the Beautiful", penned by David Raksin, became a jazz standard and has been cited as an example of an excellent movie theme.
In Hollywood, director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), movie star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), and screenwriter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell) each refuse to speak by phone to Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) in Paris. Movie producer Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) gathers them in his office and explains that Shields was calling them because he has a new film idea and he wants the three of them for the project. Shields cannot get financing on his own, but with their names attached, there would be no problem. Pebbel asks the three to allow him to get Shields on the phone before they give their final answer.
As they await Shields' call, Pebbel assures the three that he understands why they refused to speak to Shields. The backstory of their involvement with Shields then unfolds in a series of flashbacks. Shields is the son of a notorious former studio head who had been dumped by the industry. The elder Shields was so unpopular that his son had to hire "extras" to attend his funeral. Despite the industry's ill feelings toward him because of his father, the younger Shields is determined to make it in Hollywood by any means necessary.
Shields partners with aspiring director Amiel, whom he meets at his father's funeral. Shields intentionally loses money he does not have in a poker game to film executive Pebbel, so he can talk Pebbel into letting him work off the debt as a line producer. Shields and Amiel learn their respective trades making B movies for Pebbel. When one of their films becomes a hit, Amiel decides they are ready to take on a more significant project he has been nursing along, and Shields pitches it to the studio. Shields gets a $1 million budget to produce the film, but betrays Amiel by allowing someone with an established reputation to be chosen as director. The film's success allows Shields to start his own studio, and Pebbel comes to work for him there. Amiel, now independent of Shields, goes on to become an Oscar-winning director in his own right.
Shields next encounters alcoholic small-time actress Lorrison, the daughter of a famous actor Shields admired. He builds up her confidence and gives her the leading role in one of his movies over everyone else's objections. When she falls in love with him, he lets her think that he feels the same way so that she does not self-destruct and he gets the performance he needs. After a smash premiere makes her a star overnight, she finds him with a beautiful bit player named Lila (Elaine Stewart). He drives Lorrison away, telling her that he will never allow anyone to have that much control over him. Crushed over being jilted by Shields, Lorrison walks out on her contract with his studio. Rather than take her to court, Shields releases his rights to her, freeing her to go to another studio, which makes a fortune from her films as she becomes a top Hollywood star.
Finally, Bartlow is a contented professor at a small college who has written a bestselling book for which Shields has purchased the film adaptation rights. Shields wants Bartlow himself to write the film's script. Bartlow is not interested, but his shallow Southern belle wife, Rosemary (Gloria Grahame) is, so he agrees to do it for her sake. They go to Hollywood, where Shields is annoyed to find that her constant distractions are keeping her husband from his work. He gets his suave actor friend Victor "Gaucho" Ribera (Gilbert Roland) to keep her occupied. Freed from interruption, Bartlow is able to make excellent progress on the script. Rosemary, however, runs off with Gaucho and they are killed in a plane crash. When the script is completed, Shields has the distraught Bartlow remain in Hollywood to help with the production as Shields takes over directing duties himself. A first-time director, Shields botches the job, which leads to his bankruptcy. Then Shields lets slip a casual remark that reveals his complicity in Rosemary's affair with Gaucho, so Bartlow walks out on him. Now able to view his late wife more objectively, Bartlow goes on to write a novel based upon her (something Shields had previously encouraged him to do) and wins a Pulitzer Prize for it.
After each flashback, Pebbel sarcastically agrees that Shields "ruined" their lives, making his true point that each of the three, despite feeling betrayed, is now at the top of the movie business, thanks largely to Shields. At last, Shields' telephone call comes through and Pebbel asks the three if they will work with Shields just one more time; all three reject the plea. As they leave the room, Pebbel is still talking to Shields. Out of Pebbel's sight, the three eavesdrop using an extension phone while Shields describes his new idea, and they become more and more interested.
Lana Turner as Georgia
Kirk Douglas as Jonathan
Dick Powell as James Lee
Walter Pidgeon as Harry Pebbel
Barry Sullivan as Fred
Gloria Grahame as Rosemary
Gilbert Roland as "Gaucho"
Paul Stewart as Syd
Ivan Triesault as Von Ellstein
Leo G. Carroll as Henry Whitfield
Sammy White as Gus
Elaine Stewart as Lila
Relation to real-life personalities
There has been much debate as to which real-life Hollywood legends are represented by the film's characters. At the time of the film's release, stories about its basis caused David O. Selznick — whose real life paralleled in some respects that of the "father-obsessed independent producer" Jonathan Shields — to have his lawyer view the film and determine whether it contained any libelous material. Shields is thought to be a blending of Selznick, Orson Welles and Val Lewton. Lewton's Cat People is clearly the inspiration behind the early Shields-Amiel film Doom of the Cat Men.
The Georgia Lorrison character is the daughter of a "Great Profile" actor like John Barrymore (Diana Barrymore's career was in fact launched the same year as her father's death), but it can also be argued that Lorrison includes elements of Minnelli's ex-wife Judy Garland. Gilbert Roland's Gaucho may almost be seen as self-parody, as he had recently starred in a series of Cisco Kid pictures, though the character's name, Ribera, would seem to give a nod also to famed Hollywood seducer Porfirio Rubirosa. The director Henry Whitfield (Leo G. Carroll) is a "difficult" director modeled on Alfred Hitchcock, and his assistant Miss March (Kathleen Freeman) is modeled on Hitchcock's wife Alma Reville. The James Lee Bartlow character may have been inspired by Paul Eliot Green, the University of North Carolina academic-turned-screenwriter of The Cabin in the Cotton.
The film earned $2,367,000 in the US and Canada and $1,006,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $484,000.
Best Supporting Actress: Gloria Grahame. Her screen time of just over 9 minutes was at the time the shortest performance to ever win an Academy Award for acting, a record she held until 1977 when Beatrice Straight set a new record.
Best Art Direction (Black-and-White): Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Edward Carfagno; Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis, Keogh Gleason
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White): Robert Surtees
Best Costume Design (Black-and-White): Helen Rose
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay: Charles Schnee
Best Actor: Kirk Douglas
David Raksin wrote the theme song "The Bad and the Beautiful" (originally called "Love is For the Very Young") for the film. Upon first hearing the song, Minnelli and Houseman nearly rejected it, but were convinced to keep it by Adolph Green and Betty Comden. After the film's release, the song became a hit and a jazz standard, and has been widely covered.
A number of film music experts and composers, including Stephen Sondheim, have highly praised the theme. In a Chicago Tribune article about the theme entitled "Anatomy of a Great Movie Theme", critic Michael Phillips wrote, "Its hypnotic way of combining dissonance with resolutions that never quite resolve when, or how, you expect them to, keeps a listener perpetually intrigued. The bittersweet quality proves elusive and addictive. It's perfect for the Douglas character, and for what Minnelli called the Hollywood-insider script's alternately 'affectionate and cynical' air."
The Bad and the Beautiful was released to DVD by Warner Home Video on February 5th, 2002 as a Region 1 fullscreen DVD.
The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
Miller, Frank (2016). "Behind the Camera on The Bad and the Beautiful". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
Tim Dirks. "The Bad And The Beautiful (1952)". filmsite.org.
Glenn Erickson (February 28, 2002). "The Bad and the Beautiful". DVD Savant. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
Karina Longworth (August 15, 2007). "Star-making as Fetish: The Bad and the Beautiful". blog.spout.com.
"Oscars.org -- The Bad and the Beautiful". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
Cloete, Kervyn (2015-01-29). "Top List Thursday – Oscar winners with the shortest screen time". themovies.co.za. The Movies. Archived from the original on 2015-04-05. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
Harmetz, Aljean (2004-08-11). "David Raksin, The Composer of 'Laura', Is Dead at 92". The New York Times (New York City). Retrieved 2016-01-13.
Miller, Frank (2016). "Behind the Camera on The Bad and the Beautiful". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2016-01-13. "As a result, he insisted that the love theme from The Bad and the Beautiful be released strictly as an instrumental. It became a hit[.]"
"The Bad and the Beautiful". Jazzstandards.com. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
Phillips, Michael (2011-08-26). "Anatomy of a Great Movie Theme". Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois). Retrieved 2016-01-13.