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Vincente Minnelli's caustic portrait of Hollywood stars Lana Turner as a daddy-fixated dipso who is turned into a star by a charming, ruthless producer (Kirk Douglas) who betrays everyone on his way to the top.
Rivalling Sunset Boulevard as the classic caustic portrait of Hollywood, The Bad and the Beautiful rips the lid off the last days of Hollywood's Golden Age while fondly recalling its every excess. Minnelli's outrageously entertaining film à clef stars Lana Turner as Georgia Lorison, a daddy-fixated dipso made into an acclaimed actress by charming, ruthless producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas, in a role modelled on David O. Selznick and Val Lewton), who betrays everyone on his way to the top. Bad to Lana's beautiful, Douglas was nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award® but lost to Gary Cooper in High Noon; he was the only B&B nominee not honoured, as the film made off with five Academy Awards® including Best Screenplay, Cinematography and Supporting Actress for the peerless Gloria Grahame as a wayward Southern belle. Of all the film's many celebrated sequences, the most famous is Turner's breakdown during a careening night drive on a rainy coastal highway, shot in a single take as carefully choreographed, Minnelli insisted, as a ballet. "A breakthrough: it opened up a potential for sudden insights in brilliantly regulated melodrama that was one of Minnelli's most fascinating assets" (David Thomson).