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

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 19, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    The Bad and the Beautiful

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

    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.
    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.
    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.
    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
  2. Rain

    Rain Producer

    Mar 21, 2001
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    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. [​IMG]
  3. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

    Oct 20, 2001
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    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. Jeff Koch

    Jeff Koch Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 18, 2001
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    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?).
  5. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
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    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    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.
  6. Blaine Skerry

    Blaine Skerry Second Unit

    Aug 15, 2001
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    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. Mitchell Kaufman

    Mar 17, 2001
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    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.

  8. Dwayne

    Dwayne Supporting Actor

    Jan 22, 2000
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    Those screenshots look beautiful and the story sounds intriguing. This looks like a purchase.
  9. Derek M Germano

    Derek M Germano Second Unit

    Jun 30, 1997
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    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:
  10. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

    Jun 19, 2001
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    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. Jeff Swindoll

    Jeff Swindoll Supporting Actor

    Mar 19, 2000
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    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? [​IMG]
    Tell WB to put more classics on DVD!! I gotta have the Haunting [​IMG].
  12. TomND

    TomND Auditioning

    Jun 8, 2000
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    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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