XL Popcorn – The Bad and the Beautiful

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 713/1007Title: The Bad and the Beautiful
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Year: 1952
Country: USA

The flight time between London and Athens is a bit over three and a half hours. When flying with a budget airline like easyJet, aside fro, the delays and the legroom shortage, I am usually fine for 1-2 hours, but this flight gave me pause to do something that I should have done a long time ago. You see, I’ve had my iPad 2 for 5-6 years (it’s where the initial list for this blog was written on) and never even thought about taking it with my on a plane to watch a movie, and so here we are with a film that I have been wanting to watch for a good long time.

Directed by Vincente Minelli, The Bad and the Beautiful is one of those classic golden age Hollywood films about the sacrifices people make in order to make it big. It’s presented in the form of three flashbacks, as three people who found success after being wronged by a once successful movie mogul tell their stories as to why they would never work with him ever again. These three are united by their distaste for movie mogul Jonathan Shields (played by an excellent Kirk Douglas), all for incredibly good reasons.

The film itself is set up as a short anthology series with Douglas’ Shields and the common thread. We get to see Shields at his rise, his heights and at his decline and how these different situations have led to his using of the director, the star and the writer. It’s not like he uses and disposes of them once he’s done, in all three situations it is the wronged people’s decision to walk away because he crossed the line that he shouldn’t have crossed.

I may be biased because films about old Hollywood really are my bread and butter, but I thought this film was excellent. The way that we watch Shields’s career path and the different lengths he goes to in order to get what he wants helps to keep the film interesting. However, and I am going to give him this, he had no inclination of sending the writer’s wife (a wonderfully flighty Gloria Grahame) to her death – but the way he concealed his, indirect, involvement did speak to his character.

It’s excellent performances from the all the principle cast and some classically beautiful Hollywood melodrama direction that really made The Bad and the Beautiful a winner for me. Sure films about people gathered in a room recounting how someone has wronged them is hardly groundbreaking, but it helps when it’s very well executed. A perfect plane movie.

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