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

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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 19 2002 - 09:33 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


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


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


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


Release Date: Now available


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Rain



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Posted February 19 2002 - 09:53 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 OFFLINE   Jo_C


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Posted February 19 2002 - 11:25 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 OFFLINE   Jeff Koch

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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:26 PM

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 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted February 19 2002 - 01:37 PM

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.

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#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Blaine Skerry

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Posted February 19 2002 - 04:50 PM

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 OFFLINE   Mitchell Kaufman

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Posted February 19 2002 - 06:23 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 OFFLINE   Dwayne


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Posted February 19 2002 - 06:33 PM

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

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   Derek M Germano

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Posted February 19 2002 - 07:40 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
2,000-plus Blu-ray & DVD reviews now playing...

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Roger Rollins

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Posted February 20 2002 - 02:54 PM

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 OFFLINE   Jeff Swindoll

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Posted February 20 2002 - 05:41 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.

I didnt play Dungeons and Dragons all those years and not learn something about courage.
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#12 of 12 OFFLINE   TomND



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Posted February 25 2002 - 04:27 PM

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.

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