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HTF REVIEW: "The Bad and the Beautiful" (with screenshots)


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#1 of 12 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 19 2002 - 04:33 AM

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The Bad and the Beautiful


"Jonathan Shields....the man who
will do anything to get what he wants"


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A Director, a Writer and an Actress. Three
individuals who don't have happy memories of
Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), a B-grade
movie maker who rose to one of Hollywood's most
ruthless film producers, stomping on careers
and making enemies of just about everyone he has
met along the way.

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So why have these individuals all come together
at his studio's office one late evening? His
accountant, Harry Peebles (Walter Pidgeon), has
one last offer to make to all of them. He is
asking them to make just one more picture for
the bankrupt Jonathan Shields.

The Director, Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) reflects
on how he first met Shields and pitched him his
very first box-office success. The Actress,
Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner) reflects on how
Shields took her from being a drunken tramp and
turned her into a star. The Writer, James Lee
(Dick Powell) reflects on how Shields took his
first book and turned into a hit film.

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As much as Shields turned their individual lives
into a huge success, he also betrayed each and
every one of them along the way.

Director Vincent Minnelli gives us an insider's
look at Hollywood, a land that is not as glitzy
behind the camera as it is in front. This 1952
film is nearly an all-too-real look at the betrayal
and deception that made up the inner works of
tinsel town. Gloria Graham (Rosemary Bartlow) won
Best Supporting Actress for her role in this
film and Kirk Douglas garnered a Best Actor Oscar
nomination.

How is the transfer?


Presented full frame, the black and white transfer
looks spectacular. The print is very clean with
only occasional blemish. Watching such clean black
and white transfers on DVD make films like this
seem brand new.

The sound is mono, and sounds extremely good across
the front two speakers.


Special Features


Warner has put out a 2-sided DVD. The main
feature is presented on side A, while side B has
been reserved for added content.

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Most of the supplemental area is devoted to a
terrific documentary entitled, Lana Turner...
A Daughter's Memoir
. Produced by Turner Classic
Films and narrated by Robert Wagner, this
documentary tells the story of one of America's
most memorable Bombshells. This is the famous
actress who at the age of 16, was discovered in
a malt shop. By the age of 17 she made her first
picture.

Filled with personal still photos, home movies
and many film clips, we come to learn of the
natural talent and screen presence that made
Lana Turner an MGM glamour-plus star. She was
a party animal, and actively sought the company
of men. She was so strong-willed that MGM's
Louis B. Mayer had problems keeping her under
control. Her impulsive whim with men put her in
and out of many stormy relationships. For 17 years
more, MGM bailed Lana out of many scandalous
situations.

The rest of her life? Well, you need to watch
this documentary yourself. It's a thoroughly
enjoyable look back at her career with present
day interviews with the likes of Jackie Cooper,
Robert Stack and Kirk Douglas.

In addition to the film's original Theatrical Trailers,
the trailer for the film's sequel, Two weeks in Another Town
is also included.

In a first that I have seen on this format,
Warner has included Scoring session cues that
via a menu, allow you to individually listen to
the original music cues for selected scenes.

Cast and Crew is a simple one-page menu
that gives the credits for the film. There is no
advanced biography for any of the individuals listed.

You can also glance at the list of AWARDS
this film won.


Final Thoughts


As much work as it takes for me to crank out
up to five reviews a week, there is always the
underlying pleasure of getting to watch classic
films that I never would have seen otherwise.

I am always pleasantly surprised when I get
to see gems like The Bad and the Beautiful,
which I think are terrific. Watching them on a
format that gives such appreciation for its
presentation values is also an added plus.

Anyone looking to educate themselves with some
of Hollywood's most memorable classics owes it
to themselves to make this film part of their
collection.

Release Date: Now available

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 12 Rain

Rain

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Posted February 19 2002 - 04:53 AM

Well, unfortunately, having not yet seen the film, I don't have much to add.

Just wanted to say thanks for the review, as this is one disc I have been looking at with great interest. Good to know that Warner's recent commitment to doing a good job of presenting these old titles (even though some still feel they aren't doing it fast enough) is continuing.

Now, please excuse me while I run out to buy a copy. Posted Image

"Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." - Imagine by John Lennon

#3 of 12 Jo_C

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Posted February 19 2002 - 06:25 AM

A side note to Ronald's review...I am not kidding you on this. There really is a company now called Shields Pictures!

Pay attention to the Shields Pictures logo at the start of the film. If you are regular viewers of American Movie Classics, you may have seen this same logo precede many of the color Paramount shorts of the 1930s (particularly the "Popular Science" shorts). A small group of film partners formed an independent film distribution company called Shields Pictures and took the logo from the fictitious company in "The Bad And The Beautiful". Shields acquired the Paramount shorts in question from EMKA Ltd. (aka Universal Studios) and re-copyrighted the material to Shields.

If you ever catch the shorts again on AMC, the classic color shorts are worth a look.

#4 of 12 Jeff Koch

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Posted February 19 2002 - 08:26 AM

Ron,

Thanks for the great review! I ordered the disc immediately and can't wait to see it. Thanks also to Warners for isolating David Raksin's score, one of Hollywood's great composers responsible for such gems as "Laura" and "Forever Amber" (Fox, when can we get those on dvd?).

Jeff

#5 of 12 Patrick McCart

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Posted February 19 2002 - 08:37 AM

I don't know if I'll get this DVD or not (I do like movies about movies), but I'm amazed by the picture quality.

Posted Image

#6 of 12 Blaine Skerry

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Posted February 19 2002 - 11:50 AM

Great review, Ron. The reason I bought this film was because of the clip I saw on the "A CENTURY OF CINEMA - A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies". After reading your review I'm tempted to buy it again. Thanks.

#7 of 12 Mitchell Kaufman

Mitchell Kaufman

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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:23 PM

I'm looking at the disc as I'm writing, and I pretty much agree with Ron's review.

I don't know for sure if this is another Lowry Digital effort, but it's got all the earmarks (for better or worse): stunningly clean, a bit soft, and free of grain and slightly too bright and lacking in contrast. A twist of the old knobs will go far toward correcting the last two. As for the softness, it doesn't show in the screen shots above, but it's definitely there. There's also a little bit of pulsing in details, probably a by-product of DVNR. And finally, a minimum of edge enhancement (thank goodness).

Unfair carping? Probably. Warner is taking their sweet time but generally doing a great job on the older films.

All in all, this is "The Bad and the Exceedingly Beautiful."

Highly recommended.

MK
"Let's keep this between you, and me, and the horse." -- Gregory Peck in The Big Country

#8 of 12 Dwayne

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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:33 PM

Those screenshots look beautiful and the story sounds intriguing. This looks like a purchase.
Dwayne

#9 of 12 Derek M Germano

Derek M Germano

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Posted February 19 2002 - 02:40 PM

THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL is truly an incredible movie and one of my favorites directed by Vincente Minnelli. Robert Surtees' Academy Award winning black and white cinematography is truly amazing... There are a few, albeit smaller, screen shots that accompany my review at the following URL: http://www.thecinema....utiful-dvd.htm
Derek M. Germano
THE CINEMA LASER
2,000-plus Blu-ray & DVD reviews now playing...
http://www.thecinemalaser.com

#10 of 12 Roger Rollins

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Posted February 20 2002 - 09:54 AM

I concur with all the positive comments made here, and have to also mention one of the best things about this release that hasn't been talked about. At a list price of $20 (I got mine for even less) this A+ release is a real bargain, especially with a feature-length docu on Side B.

A must for anyone interested in Hollywood and filmmaking!

#11 of 12 Jeff Swindoll

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Posted February 20 2002 - 12:41 PM

Dagnabit Ron! Stop reviewing these classic films and making me buy them. My credit card is melting (oh what a cruel world, and your little dog too!). Just kidding.
The Bad and the Beautiful? Is it a movie about the HTF? Posted Image

Tell WB to put more classics on DVD!! I gotta have the Haunting Posted Image.

Cheers.
I didnt play Dungeons and Dragons all those years and not learn something about courage.
--Bernie Faulkner

My DVD List at DVD Aficionado

#12 of 12 TomND

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Posted February 25 2002 - 11:27 AM

Just to give a heads up to the people who've yet to see this film (me included), TCM will be airing it tonight at 1:00 AM (well, technically that's tommorrow morning). Seeing as how this is TCM, I'm sure that the broadcast will be up to most of your standards.