The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)

Just Bad

There are an astonishing number of movies about the movie business. many of these interest me because they use the situation as a way of engaging the audience: we are tricked into being the audience IN the film.

This is a common trick, which I believe to be the most effective in all film, especially when disguised.

But it all depends on the movie being well made. In this case, we have a collection of A-list personalities, none of whom do anything near competent work by today’s standards, except for Minnelli’s staging.

The irony is in the story: it is about a man who makes excellent films, terrific films, special films that bowl viewers over. This film does none of that. Our man Kirk is famously on record as thinking movies are only about storytelling and actors are only about inhabiting a character.

Kirk’s character new this wasn’t all, at least the guy who wrote it knew. Art is destructive, creation is painful. People get hurt. In powerful movies, even viewers get hurt.

This movie is like the ones Pidgeon’s character talks about.

Lana made a career of being a damaged person who communicated that damage. Not the same as being a dimensional person who can communicate depth.

Posted in 2005

Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.


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