The 1952 film The Bad and the Beautiful, written by Charles Schnee and directed by Vincente Minelli, is one in a long line of fantastic movies about Hollywood and the choice one makes in putting professional life ahead of personal happiness. The story revolves around the lives of three of Hollywood’s brightest stars who are called together by a producer named Harry Pebbles (Walter Pidgeon). While together, the three have a phone meeting with another producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas). The three have sworn to never work with Shields again due to the way he treated them. The group consists of director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), a gorgeous movie star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner) and writer James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell). The story is told in flashback and each recounts how they fell under Shields’ power and were eventually betrayed by him. Although Fred, Georgia and James were cheated and discarded by Shields, each has found a great deal of success in Hollywood due to his influence. Shields is a true dictator and his only concern is to create the best films of all time. And Shields runs his personal life just as he does his professional life- with utter ruthlessness. In the end, the three ask themselves if they can forgive Shields for his heinous flaws and challenge themselves to give him another chance by listening to his new film idea.
The Bad and the Beautiful was nominated for six Academy Awards and was the winner of five including Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Costume Design. Kirk Douglas received a Best Actor nomination for his role as the Hollywood megalomaniac Jonathan Shields. Douglas lost the Oscar to Gary Cooper in High Noon. The 6th Oscar nomination and 5th win for the film went to Gloria Grahame, winner, (152) for her role as Rosemary Bartlow, the blonde, sexpot Southern belle wife of abused novelist-screenwriter James Lee Bartlow. Grahame portrays Rosemary as charmingly manipulative, but daffy and lightweight. This film marked Grahame’s second Oscar nomination (and only win) for Best Supporting Actress- her first came in 1947 for the film Crossfire.