“The Bad And The Beautiful” is a 1952 film starring Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Walter Pigeon, and Dick Powell. It’s about the rise and fall of a cutthroat movie producer. The story is told through flashback vignettes of three former friends whom he helped then ultimately betrayed. The movie won 5 Academy Awards and it holds the record for most wins for a movie not nominated for best picture. I couldn’t find David Raksin’s soundtrack online but I did find the movie.
I’m not going to sit and rehash the plot for you because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who wants to see it. I will share some of my thoughts without giving too much away I hope. Kirk Douglas plays the producer and I have to say he was a fine looking man! I have often heard people imitate him but I never really heard the vocal quality they always do until I watched this movie. That made me smile more than once. Kirk plays a great likable bastard.
My favorite vignette was the one with Lana Turner. She wore some of the most beautiful costumes ever set to film in my, admittedly limited, experience. This part of the movie made me talk back to the screen more than any other part. I know it can be obnoxious and annoying when other people talk during a movie but trust me, it’s adorable when I do it!
In this movie Kirk’s producer character seems to assume the role of director, writer, acting coach, nursemaid, AA sponsor, pimp, and ‘ho at various times. It seemed a bit farfetched to me but I confess I had no true idea what a movie producer’s job description might include. I looked it up. It turns out, producers sometimes do all that stuff. Then again, sometimes they don’t. It seems no matter what a producer is doing at any given moment, it probably fits the job description.
The movie was directed by Vincinte Minnelli. Yay Liza’s Dad!
Oddly enough, David Raksin is a famous composer whose name I know! He wrote the song “Laura” for which my cousin was named. Here is a pretty good ameture video of a piano performance of “The Bad And The Beautiful” theme.