Ten for 2014

I was inspired by Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings‘  idea of choosing ten films to see for the first time over the course of the year. Raquel at Out of The Past is trying it out too, and I think it’s a good way to set a goal and actually get around to watching those movies that you know you want to, but keep getting pushed back for one reason or another. So to kick off my 2014 in blogging, here’s my list:

Safety Last!

I’m slowly getting around to the silent film canon, and have arrived at Harold Lloyd finally.

8 1/2

This is one of those “You haven’t seen that yet?!?” movies for me. Having only seen La Dolce Vita, I think I need some more Fellini in my life.

Anatomy of a Murder

It has been forever since I’ve seen a new-to-me Jimmy Stewart film, and I think this is the last “big” one on his filmography that I haven’t seen yet.

Easy Rider

I’m rediculously lacking in the New Hollywood department, so I’ve been trying to amend that. This one helps mark the beginning of that era.

The Magnificent Ambersons

I feel like as much as I talk and read about Orson Welles, I haven’t really seen many of his films. I’ve seen about the first ten minutes of this one.

The Third Man

A movie everyone tells me is brilliant and that I keep forgetting to watch.

Modern Times

After The Kid and City Lights, I’ve become really interested in Chaplin. This was suggested as a good next film.

Un femme est un femme

My yearly quest to love Godard as much as Truffaut (it’s never going to happen…) brings me to this New Wave homage to the musical.

Yojimbo

I’m also terrible with Asian film (even though I’m Asian, go figure). I need to watch more Ozu, but am naturally pulled more towards Kurosawa, and this one has plenty of influences on other films like Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars. Speaking of which, I should finally watch Once Upon a Time in the West too…

Mildred Pierce

This is the one that I feel embarrassed about when in the company of other classic film fans, so I’m watching it this year.

Here’s to a great, movie-filled 2014!

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Breaking News Blogathon: Day 2 Roundup

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Thanks to all who contributed yesterday! We’ve got another great group today, so without further ado:

– Lara at Backlots takes a look at journalist Barbara Stanwyck’s creation of a political everyman in Capra’s Meet John Doe.

– Carley at The Kitty Packard Pictorial looks at Lee Tracy’s fast-talking gossip journalist (and Dick Powell’s screen debut!) in Warner Brothers’ Blessed Event.

Famous Dames looks at Burt Lancaster’s ruthless J.J. Huntsecker manipulating Tony Curtis’ Sidney Falco for his own agenda in Sweet Smell of Success.

I Started Late and Forgot the Dog looks at the role of the career women in Crime of Passion.

– Kevin at Perforated Carr takes a behind-the-scenes look at Roman Holiday.

– Aurora at Once Upon a Screen looks at Barbara Stanwyck’s domestic column writer who must suddenly become the persona she’s been playing in the newspaper in Christmas in Connecticut.

Portraits By Jenni looks at a woman torn between her journalistic profession and domestic life with Ralph Bellamy in Headline Shooter.

– Danny at Pre-Code takes a thorough look at rival headlines causing trouble in Platinum Blonde.

Silver Scenes gives some great behind-the-scenes info in their review of the hilarious Libeled Lady.

Silver Screenings looks at an early television anthology episode documenting the important case of newspaper printer John Peter Zenger in The Trial of John Peter Zenger.

The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog looks at the use of the journalist in the Poverty Row thriller The Mysterious Mr. Wong.

The Hollywood Review highlights some memorable journalists from the pre-code era.

The Joy and Agony of Movies gives an in-depth look into the production and the true story behind All the President’s Men.

The Man on the Flying Trapeze compares The Front Page and its later remake, His Girl Friday.

– Bernardo at The Movie Rat looks at journalists in the classic horror films Doctor X and The Return of Doctor X.

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To looks at Montgomery Clift as a journalist who gets a little too involved with his readers in Lonelyhearts.

– Ivan at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear writes an in-depth review of Humphrey Bogart’s Deadline – U.S.A.

Vienna’s Classic Hollywood reviews the Clark Gable/Doris Day romantic comedy Teacher’s Pet.

– Dorian at Tales of the Easily Distracted looks at Shattered Glass, a biopic about reporter Stephen Glass, who was caught fabricating his news stories.

Girls Do Film looks at some of the historical and cultural context of Sex and the Single Girl.

The Girl with the White Parasol looks at one murderous reporter trying to keep his secret from his determined protege in Scandal Sheet.

– My co-host Jessica at Comet Over Hollywood looks at portrayals of journalists in film.

Nitrate Diva looks at Buster Keaton and newsreels in The Cameraman.

– Cliff at Immortal Ephemera looks at another Lee Tracy journalism film, Clear All Wires!

If there are any stragglers, just send me a link once you have your posts up. Thank you all so much for making this such a great success!

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Breaking News Blogathon: Arise, My Love (Leisen, 1940)

indexFirstly, I want to thank all the bloggers who signed up  for our event. I was so happy to see so many responses to this topic, and I’m looking forward to reading all the contributions over this weekend.

Over the last few months, I’ve become pretty familiar with Ray Milland, and in turn Mitchell Leisen, who teamed up with Milland several times during their Paramount careers. I honestly didn’t give Leisen the thought and recognition he deserves, as I mostly knew him as the guy who directed scripts written by the likes of Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges, and who apparently made both of them peeved enough at one time or another that they started directing their own scripts. But as I’ve seen more of his films from that Paramount era, it’s obvious that even though the qualities I associate with those screenwriters shine through, there is Leisen’s own signature touch as well. He has a light and breezy control of his craft, neither frenetic like Sturges could be, and usually without the touch of cynicism that Wilder had. Perhaps Leisen is overlooked because he stays out of the way of his story and characters, and lets it unfold at its own pace.

Arise, My Love is one of those interventionist message films that came out before the US involvement in WWII. It opens at the conclusion of the Spanish Civil War in 1939, where American ace flyer Tom Martin (Milland) finds himself facing the firing squad for fighting on the losing side. At the eleventh hour, Tom is pardoned by the governor as the result of the pleading of his wife. Tom is baffled as he is a bachelor, but he goes along with the plan. His “wife” turns out to be Associated News reporter Augusta “Gusto” Nash (Claudette Colbert), who has concocted this whole rescue as a way to get an exclusive story. Gusto has been plugging away as a domestic and women’s interest reporter, and longs for a position on the front lines as a foreign correspondent. She and Tom are barely able to flee by plane after their cover is blown, but they make it safely to Paris. arise-my-love-1940-01-g

Although Martin has fallen for Gusto almost from the beginning, she turns away his advances and dedicates herself solely to her work. The article of the rescue becomes a hit, and the two spend more time together as Gusto writes more on Tom’s background and adventures. In a lovely romantic scene, Tom tricks Gusto into going on a date with him, and she begins to give in a little to her feelings for him.

In the background, Hitler starts his invasion of Poland, and Gusto is offered a position in Berlin as a foreign correspondent. She tries to leave Tom quickly behind, but he follows her onto the same train, having just enlisted as a volunteer for the Polish air force. The two stop the train and steal away in the Forest of Compiègne, where they both decide to put aside their careers and return to America to marry. Tom secures two boat tickets on the S.S. Athenia, and on their voyage, the two say goodbye to their former selves and vow to start over. However, when the boat is attacked and sinks, Gusto finds herself reporting the breaking news back to her office, and Tom is back in the air flying rescue planes over the wreckage. They both realize that although a part of them yearns for a domestic life and each other, the call of duty is too strong. They part ways on the beaches of Ireland, uncertain of their future and their chances of meeting again.

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 6.10.36 PMMonths later, Gusto finds herself back in the Forest of Compiègne to cover the signing of the peace treaty between Hitler and the French. Now a hardworking and star reporter, she’s covered all of the major events for the newspaper. Meanwhile Tom, who has been injured and scheduled to travel back to America to start service as a military flight instructor, tracks down Gusto’s location. He convinces her editor to give him press credentials so he can meet her at the treaty signing. The two reunite, and decide this time they will stay together, serving their country back at home.

I found this to be a fascinating film because of it’s historical placement. Both Tom and Gusto choose to forgo what they describe as a happy married life in America, which at that time was “safe,” and plunge headfirst into the war effort. For Gusto as a journalist, she feels compelled to get the word out about what exactly is happening in Europe, especially to those back home in America who didn’t yet have a clear picture of the threat that was looming on the horizon. Tom, after fighting in the Spanish Civil War, volunteers to fight for Poland. Even though his home country was not yet involved, he dives headfirst into fighting the enemy, risking not only his chance at love and happiness, but his life.

Claudette Colbert’s Gusto is foremost a “career woman.” We can see that she is attracted to Tom from the start, and yet it is her drive to become a top reporter that keeps her from becoming too close to him. While there are a few exchanges between Gusto and her editor, the film mostly focuses on her as a single journalist working hard to get the news out to the people back home. With her character on the front lines, it romances the idea of the foreign correspondent.

MillandAriseMyLoveWritten by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, the film never feels abruptly dark even though it is serious material. It balances that line between lighter romantic comedy and drama very well in that sense. There are also some double entendres that really made we wonder how they got past the censors. Milland and Colbert, who would make three films together (this being their second) have great chemistry. Both play characters that are very self-confident, and it’s fun to see that battle of wills go on throughout the film.

Unfortunately the movie is not available on home video, and it really is a shame. With all the talent behind and in front of the camera and also as a sort of “historical document” film for the time, I hope it one day is made available for wider viewership.

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Breaking News: Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon Round-Up~ Day 1

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Today kicks off the first day of the Breaking News: Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon! If for some reason I’ve missed your direct link for today, post it here in the comments. Here are the contributions, hot off the presses:

– Flick Chick at A Person in the Dark looks at Cagney and yellow journalism in Warner Brothers’ Picture Snatcher.

– Jacqueline at Another Old Movie Blog looks at a newsroom full of famous TV faces in 30.

Caftan Woman takes a look at Mervyn LeRoy’s Oscar nominated Five Star Final.

– Le at Critica Retro writes about Billy Wilder’s nasty Ace in the Hole(Remember to hit translate!)

Destroy All Fanboys looks at Akira Kurosawa’s critique of gossip and entertainment journalism in Scandal.

– Chris at Family Friendly Reviews gives an in-depth look into Welles’ Citizen Kane.

Movie Classics follows a reporter balancing breaking an important story and his methods of doing it in I Cover the Waterfront.

– Kay at Movie Star Makeover looks at journalist Natalie Wood’s style and flair in Blake Edwards’ The Great Race.

Movies Silently reviews The Power of the Press, an early Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. film which shows the signature touches of champion-of-the-everyman director Frank Capra.

– Brandie at True Classics looks at the slightly unscrupulous journalists in Howard Hawks’ classic His Girl Friday.

– Trevor at A Modern Musketeer has put together a great gifset of the 1926 Soviet film, Miss Mend.

– Yours truly looks at Ray Milland and Claudette Colbert in Mitchell Leisen’s war romance film Arise, My Love.

Carole and Co. highlights Carole Lombard’s work in Nothing Sacred, as well as her turn as a reporter in a lesser-known film.

– Rich at Widescreen World defends James Cagney’s Frank Ross in a great editorial on Each Dawn I Die.

– Vanessa over at Stardust writes about the questionable motives on display in The Philadelphia Story.

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Update: Schedule for the Breaking News: Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon

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Hi All,

If you haven’t checked already, my co-host Jessica at Comet Over Hollywood has put together the schedule for the weekend. We’re really excited about the group of bloggers and films we have, and look forward to everyone’s posts!

Saturday, Sept. 21

A Person in the Dark– “Picture Snatcher” (1933)

Another Old Movie Blog– “30″ (1959)

Backlots – “Meet John Doe” (1941)

Caftan Woman– “Five Star Final”

Carole & Co. – “Nothing Sacred”

Cinamalacrum– The Naked City (1948)

Comet Over Hollywood– Portrayal of Reporters in film

Critica Retro– “Ace in the Hole”

Destroy All Fanboys– Akira Kurosawa’s Scandal (1950)

Family Friendly Reviews– Citizen Kane

Famous Dames– “Sweet Smell of Success”

Girl with the White Parasol– Scandal Sheet

Girls Do Film– Sex and the Single Girl

I Started Late and Forgot the Dog– “Crime of Passion”

Jess  in a Yellow Dress– “It Happened One Night” (1934)

Kevin Carr – Roman Holiday

Lindsay’s Movie Musings– “Arise, My Love” (1940)

Movie Classics– “I Cover the Waterfront”

Movie Star Makeover– “The Great Race”

Movies, Silently– “The Power of the Press” (1928)

Nitrate Diva– Love on the Run

Sunday, Sept. 22

Immortal Ephemera– Clear all the Wires (1933)

 The Skeins– Come Fill the Cup

Once upon a screen– Christmas in Connecticut

Portraits by Jenni– “Headline Shooter”

Pre-Code– Platinum Blonde (1931)

Silver Scenes – “Libeled Lady”

Silver Screenings– “The Trial of John Peter Zenger”

Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence – “30 Day Princess/Wedding Present”

Stardust– “Philadelphia Story” (1940)

Tales of the Easily Distracted– “Shattered Glass”

The Great Katharine Hepburn and the Golden Age of Hollywood–  “Woman of the Year” (1942)

The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog– Mysterious Mr. Wong

 The Hollywood Revue– Journalists in pre-code films

The Joy and Agony of Movies– “All the President’s Men”

The Kitty Packard Pictorial – “Blessed Event” (1932)

The Man on the Flying Trapeze– Comparing “Front Page” and “His Girl Friday”

The Movie Rat– Doctor X (1932)

They Don’t Make ‘em Like They Used To – “Lonelyhearts”

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear– Deadline-USA

True Classics– “His Girl Friday” (1940)

Vienna’s Classic Hollywood – “Teacher’s Pet”

Widescreen World– Each Dawn I Die

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Classic Films in 3D

The other really fantastic event going on at the Egyptian Theater this past week is the World 3D Film Expo. This is the third event, and it isn’t known if there will be another edition as it is very hard to get these prints. It’s been a rare opportunity to see most of the 3D films made during the classic period when 3D first started in the 1950s, screened in dual 35mm.

indexLast week I saw the first feature length 3D film, Bwana Devil. Released in 1952, director Arch Oboler had gone to the major studios with his idea for a 3D feature, but was turned down, so he made it on his own.  As I overheard one audience member say, “Not all important films are great, not all great films are important.” This is so true, and Bwana Devil was probably one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The plot follows a railway engineer played by Robert Stack, who has been sent to Africa to supervise the building of his father-in-law’s railroad through the middle of the savannah. However, the locals who have been hired to do the manual labor are wanting to pack out because of the rumors of the existence of a man-eating lion. But Stack’s character pushes on, even after it is revealed that there are two lions. The movie is over-the-top with it’s cheesiness. The “lion attacks” are so fake looking, and everything is set up to exploit the 3D effects. One such memorable shot was a kissing scene between Stack and his wife, played by Barbara Britton. It’s a shot-reverse-shot of their faces coming towards each other, directly to the camera for the 3D. There was plenty of laughing going on during the film, and it’s definitely not a comedy. But the 3D technology really is impressive, especially when you think of what they had to work with back then versus what we have now.

Last night’s film was way better. I was also able to meet up with Laura from Laura’s indexMiscellaneous Musings. It’s always great to be able to see classic films with fellow bloggers. Alan Rode from the Film Noir Foundation introduced the film, which was a treat.  A Roy Ward Baker film from 1953, Inferno starred Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming and William Lundigan. Ryan’s character is basically left to die in the middle of the desert with a broken leg, abandoned by his wife and her lover. Most of his movie is his struggle to survive, but it’s also a noir, so there’s the question of if the two lovers will get away with it, and what kind of revenge does Ryan’s character have in mind if he makes it out? Shot in color, the 3D really helps to capture the depth of the desert landscapes, showing the perils of the canyonlands that Ryan has to traverse to find help. There are some gimmicky shots as well, but I thought they were well placed within the narrative, and were actually pretty neat. It’s a really solid, tense film, and I’d definitely recommend watching it even in a 2D version.

If you can, there are two more days of the Expo this weekend and I’d definitely try and get down to see some of these films. It’s a rare experience, and who knows when, or if, we’ll get to see these films in this format again.

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A Day at Cinecon

indexThe Egyptian Theater is the home of the American Cinematheque, but a few times a year the space is used for other film festivals. Over Labor Day weekend, I was able to attend some of Cinecon, which hosted it’s 49th event at the Egyptian. Cinecon is an intense, five-day festival that features rarely screened classic films, mostly from the silent period, but there were plenty of sound films as well.

To put it in perspective, at this past year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, I saw 10 films over the three days. I saw 8 in one day of Cinecon, and I skipped two films. There’s a good chance that anyone attending the full festival will see over 50 movies during the weekend. Granted, many are shorts, but a four-hour block can feel a lot longer when there’s a mix of shorts and features versus two features back-to-back. There is a lunch and dinner break every day, so that gives festival participants time to stretch their legs and get a bite to eat, which is nice.

220px-Suddenly_It's_Spring_-_1947_PosterMy favorite movie of the day was Suddenly It’s Spring, a Mitchell Leisen film starring Fred MacMurray and Paulette Goddard from 1947. Goddard and MacMurray play a husband and wife lawyer team who have been separated while Goddard’s character served in the WACs. She’s a marital relations expert, helping to keep servicemen and women together with their non-military spouses. The kicker is that she and her own husband have been separated, and he wants a divorce as soon as possible so he can marry his mistress. It’s a comedy of re-marriage, but with the usual Leisen light touch and MacMurray and Goddard are both great. This film screened at the TCM Classic Film Festival as well this past spring, and I was happy to have a chance to see it this time around as many had mentioned how delightful it is.

Other highlights for me that Saturday were seeing Jane Withers in person after a screening of The Holy Terror, which starred Withers and a young Tony Martin (billed as Anthony Martin). There was also an interesting Gene Raymond/Francis Drake film called Transient Lady, which was a odd courtroom drama about a lawyer defending an innocent man in a murder trial, and the lynch mob mentality. Set in the South, it definitely was not subtle, there were ridiculous stereotypes, and honestly was all over the place, but there were elements of the film that were thought-provoking.  paulette-goddard-fred-macmurray-suddenly-it-s-spring-01

All the silent films were accompanied live by several different piano players, so that was a treat as well. My favorite of the silent films I saw was The Good Bad Man with Douglas Fairbanks. He plays an outlaw called Passin’ Through who is called to put aside his thieving ways to help a town under the oppression of a bandit and his gang. Of course this villain also has ties to Passin’ Through’s past. It was my first time seeing Fairbanks since I honestly don’t watch a ton of silent films, and I was drawn in by his charm. He really has a lot of charisma on screen.

Overall I’d say I enjoyed my one day at Cinecon, but I don’t know if I’d be able to do the full weekend. For the price (the full pass was just over $100 and the day pass was $30), it really is a great deal when you consider how much you get to see. Granted, you start to realize that some of these movies haven’t been seen for a while because they’re not great films. But there is definitely a high chance you’ll see at least a few really solid films each day, and there are plenty of surprises that you wouldn’t get to see at a more mainstream festival. Also, there’s the dealer’s room set up in the Loew’s Hollywood Hotel. If  you love movie memorabilia, it’s a really dangerous place to be because it’s packed with dealers selling photos, lobby cards, posters and all sorts of classic movie-related treasures.

So if you’re wanting to get off the beaten path of film festivals a little bit, Cinecon is definitely worth the money. Many of the festival goers are repeat visitors, so it’s also a great way to see friends every year. While I may not get a full weekend pass next year, I’ll definitely be making a trip back to catch a day or two of films.

 

 

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Breaking News Blogathon: We’ve Got Banners!

Hi All!

We finally have banners for our Breaking News: Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon! Please feel free to pick your favorite and display it on your blog.

Below is a compiled list of what we both have for signups so far. There’s still time to sign up to participate if you haven’t yet. We’ve got a great group of bloggers and movies, and we’re both looking forward to reading everyone’s posts!

Comet Over Hollywood– Portrayal of Reporters in film

Lindsay’s Movie Musings– “Arise, My Love” (1940)

Jess in a Yellow Dress– “It Happened One Night” (1934)

Another Old Movie Blog– “30″ (1959)

The Great Katharine Hepburn and the Golden Age of Hollywood– “Woman of the Year” (1942)

A Person in the Dark– “Picture Snatcher” (1933)

True Classics– “His Girl Friday” (1940)

The Joy and Agony of Movies– “All the President’s Men”

Stardust– “Philadelphia Story” (1940)

The Man on the Flying Trapeze – “His Girl Friday” vs. “The Front Page” (1931)

Backlots – “Meet John Doe” (1941)

The Kitty Packard Pictorial – “Blessed Event” (1932)

Portraits by Jenni– “Headline Shooter”

Caftan Woman– “Five Star Final”

Critica Retro– “Ace in the Hole”

Famous Dames– “Sweet Smell of Success”

Vienna’s Classic Hollywood – “Teacher’s Pet”

They Don’t Make ‘em Like They Used To – “Lonelyhearts”

Movie Star Makeover– “The Great Race”

Movie Classics– “I Cover the Waterfront”

Tales of the Easily Distracted– “Shattered Glass”

Carole & Co. – “Nothing Sacred”

I Started Late and Forgot the Dog– “Crime of Passion”

Silverscreenings – “The Trial of John Peter Zenger”

Silver Scenes – “Libeled Lady”

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear– “Deadline-USA”

Movies, Silently– “The Power of the Press” (1928)

The Hitless Wonder Movie Blog– Mysterious Mr. Wong

Widescreen World– Foreign Corespondent

Girl with the White Parasol– Scandal Sheet

Silver Scenes – “Libeled Lady”

Once upon a screen– Christmas in Connecticut

Pre-Code– Platinum Blonde (1931)

Immortal Ephemera– Clear all the Wires (1933)

The Movie Rat– Doctor X (1932)

Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence – “30 Day Princess/Wedding Present”

Kevin Carr – Roman Holiday

Family Friendly Reviews – Citizen Kane

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Summer Under the Stars Blogathon: The Bad and the Beautiful (Minnelli, 1953)

This post is a contribution to the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon. Thanks to Jill and Michael for hosting again this year!

cautivosmal02For director Vincente Minnelli’s follow-up to the Best Picture-winning An American in Paris, The Bad and the Beautiful seems an almost odd choice, especially coming from one who had helmed such Technicolor MGM musical fare as Meet Me In St. Louis and The Pirate. It’s a dark portrayal of Hollywood, focusing on the rise of a ruthless young producer who uses those around him to climb to the top.

The film opens with three characters: actress Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner), screenwriter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell) and director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan). The three have been gathered by executive Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) to conference call with producer Jonathan Shields, who is trying to put together a film from Paris. Pebbel is practically begging them to listen to Shields’ proposal, as it becomes apparent that each has their own backstory with Shields that has alienated them from the producer.

Told in flashbacks, we learn that Shields is of Hollywood breeding, his father an unpopular filmmaker in the industry. Shields is conniving, and has his sights set on his own stardom in Hollywood. He meets director Amiel at his father’s funeral, and the two go into making low-budget pictures for Pebbel. The two form a successful partnership making such B-pictures, but when the time comes that Shields is able to pitch a big-budget project to the studio, he throws Amiel under the bus and recommends another director for the project. Amiel eventually goes on to be a successful director in his own right, with two Academy Award wins for directing.

A meeting of those used and spit out by Jonathan Shields.

A meeting of those used and spit out by Jonathan Shields.

In the second flashback, Shields finds alcoholic actress Georgia Lorrison working in bit parts and builds her confidence, eventually giving her the leading role in one of his films. As Lorrison starts to fall in love with him, Shields plays along so that the emotionally fragile actress will be able to finish his film, only to cast her aside for another actress upon the conclusion of production. Shields tells her that he can’t reciprocate because he doesn’t want to be controlled by anyone. Lorrison goes on to be a box office success, but swears she will never work for Shields again.

Powell and Grahame

Powell and Grahame

Lastly, Shields teams with author James Lee Bartlow. Shields wants Bartlow to adapt the book he wrote into a screenplay, which Shields will produce. However, the author isn’t serious about the project, and finds himself distracted by his Southern belle wife, Rosemary (Gloria Grahame). Shields hires an actor, Gaucho Ribera, to keep Rosemary occupied and thus free Bartlow to work on the screenplay. However, Rosemary and Gaucho end up running off with each other, and parish in a plane crash. Devastated, Bartlow finds support from Shields and the movie, which becomes a welcome distraction from the crash. Bartlow and Shields seem to have a good working relationship, but during the production of the film, Shields fires the director and takes over himself. Not having any directing experience, the movie ends up being a failure, causing Shields to go bankrupt. In a fury, he lets it slip that it was he who put Gaucho and Rosemary together, and Bartlow leaves. The author goes on to win the Pulitzer Prize with his second novel.

Douglas and Turner

Douglas and Turner

As the film returns to present day, all three, after reflecting on their relationship with Shields, refuse to hear the new proposal. As they’re walking out, Pebbel says it must’ve been horrible for all of them, considering all three are working at the top level in Hollywood. As they leave, curiosity gets the better of them and they huddle around the extension phone, eavesdropping on the conversation between Shields and Pebbel.

The Bad and the Beautiful is a far cry from the films that most remember Minnelli for. It’s shot in moody black and white, not the lavish color of his musicals. The film boasts an impressive ensemble cast, with each of the main players leading stars in their own right. Kirk Douglas is perfect here, showing off his conniving side and his explosiveness as only he can. As much as I love the first two segments of flashback, being a Dick Powell fan, it’s interesting to see him opposite Douglas in a non-musical, non-noir dramatic role. Gloria Grahame won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Rosemary, and although she isn’t in the film much, she captures your attention as the annoying, shallow wife.

In fact, The Bad and the Beautiful won five Oscars total: Cinematography, Screenplay, Art Direction, and Set Design in addition to Grahame’s award. Kirk Douglas was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Gary Cooper for High Noon. The film, while praised by critics and honored by the Academy, was not nominated for Best Picture, nor was Minnelli nominated for directing.

Sullivan, Turner and Powell can't resist

Sullivan, Turner and Powell can’t resist

As New York Times critic Bosley Crowther wrote in his January 16, 1952 review, The Bad and the Beautiful paints a disturbing picture of Hollywood, one where people use each other to get to the top at all costs, but it is above all, a picture of Hollywood as an industry:

“Through all of this gory demonstration of the miserable innards of a man, the doctors are also displaying the innards of Hollywood. They move from producers’ offices to studio sets and screening-rooms, from cheap boarding houses to Beverly Hills mansions, from well-laden bars to beds, pretty well indicating — or suggesting — what goes on therein. They talk about “shooting on location,” “going over the budget,” “sneak previews” and “audience response,” and they make a few jabs at movie critics, European directors, Pulitzer prizes and such—all of them incidental nettles that get under the average Hollywood person’s skin.”

So even if the film seems to rely on the stereotypes of the industry, it makes for fine melodrama. Acted and directed to perfection, The Bad and the Beautiful remains one of the most interesting (and nasty) films to take a look at Hollywood from the inside.

The Bad and the Beautiful screens tonight at 8pm ET on TCM as part of The Essentials, and the Summer Under the Stars tribute to Lana Turner.

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Upcoming- Breaking News: Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon!

Comet Over Hollywood and Lindsay’s Movie Musings present the Breaking News: Journalism in Classic Film Blogathon!

When: September 21-22, 2013

What: Classic films are filled with stories featuring journalists and journalism. Being newspaperwomen ourselves, Jessica and I wanted to feature the roving reporters of classic film.

How to participate: Pick a movie that focuses or includes journalists as characters or the journalism profession. We do want to keep this “classic film” period (pre-1960) but if you want to write about a film pre-1980s (All the President’s Men, Network etc.) that’s definitely up for grabs. The type of journalism doesn’t matter either: newspapers, television or radio!

Once you’ve picked your movie, shoot either Jessica or Lindsay a comment on this post with your film or topic and blog. We’ll compile a master list and assign everyone one of the two days. During the blogathon, we’ll publicize your posts on our blogs and on Twitter. We’ll keep a growing master list up on our blogs leading up to the blogathon so you can see what films/topics have been taken, as it’s preferred that there are no repeating topics. Banners for the blogathon will be coming shortly.

We look forward to hosting and seeing what great topics everyone comes up with!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Participants:

Comet Over Hollywood– Portrayal of Reporters in film

Lindsay’s Movie Musings– “Arise, My Love” (1940)

Jess in a Yellow Dress– “It Happened One Night” (1934)

Another Old Movie Blog– “30″ (1959)

The Great Katharine Hepburn and the Golden Age of Hollywood– “Woman of the Year” (1942)

A Person in the Dark– “Picture Snatcher” (1933)

True Classics– “His Girl Friday” (1940)

The Joy and Agony of Movies– “All the President’s Men”

Stardust– “Philadelphia Story” (1940)

The Man on the Flying Trapeze – “His Girl Friday” vs. “The Front Page” (1931)

Backlots – “Meet John Doe” (1941)

The Kitty Packard Pictorial – “Blessed Event” (1932)

Portraits by Jenni– “Headline Shooter”

Caftan Woman– “Five Star Final”

Critica Retro– “Ace in the Hole”

Famous Dames– “Sweet Smell of Success”

Vienna’s Classic Hollywood – “Teacher’s Pet”

They Don’t Make ‘em Like They Used To – “Lonelyhearts”

Movie Star Makeover– “The Great Race”

Movie Classics– “I Cover the Waterfront”

Tales of the Easily Distracted– “Shattered Glass”

Carole & Co. – “Nothing Sacred”

I Started Late and Forgot the Dog– “Crime of Passion”

Silverscreenings – “The Trial of John Peter Zenger”

Silver Scenes – “Libeled Lady”

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear– “Deadline-USA”

Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence – “30 Day Princess/Wedding Present”

Kevin Carr – Roman Holiday

Family Friendly Reviews – Citizen Kane

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