Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday Movie Picks #196: Movies on Movies

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week's theme is "Movies on movies", and it was easy enough for me to come up with a couple of movies. The only difficult part was making certain I hadn't used them in a recent edition of TMP:

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952). Kirk Douglas plays Jonathan Shields, a movie producer nobody in Hollywood wants to work with any more. We then learn why, as his rise to stardom involved his screwing over pretty much everybody he worked with, from early co-producer Barry Sullivan, to actress Lana Turner, to screenwriter Dick Powell. Everybody is superb, including all the smaller players. Gloria Grahame, who plays the wife of the Dick Powell character, won an Oscar for her role.

Day for Night (1973). François Truffaut's movie about the making of a movie. Pretty much everything that can go wrong while making a movie does go wrong. Imported star Jacqueline Bisset is on the verge of a nervous breakdown; there are multiple love affairs; older actress Valentina Cortese can't remember her lines; and there's even a cat they needed for a certain scene that can't hit its mark. And yet, somehow, they still finish the movie.

Hearts of the West (1975). In the 1930s, farm boy Jeff Bridges is taking correspondence classes. When he wants to meet the "teachers", he finds a scam operation that eventually leads him to Hollywood, and ultimate results, through a comedy of errors, in him becoming a star of Poverty Row B westerns. Meanwhile, he'd still like to be a writer, and the guys running the scam school are looking for him since he has some of "their" money.


joel65913 said...

Hearts of the West, Day for Night, B&B

Day for Night is really a wonderful film full of insight and a feeling of collaboration. Ingrid Bergman was right Valentina Cortese should have won that Oscar that Ingrid practically handed her that night from the podium.

I liked but didn't love Hearts of the West. It started very well but bogged down after a while, still it has a lovely feeling of nostalgia and Jeff Bridges is always worth watching.

We Match! The Bad & the Beautiful is a dark film but so well acted even by the usually dull Barry Sullivan however as much as I love her Gloria Grahame did not deserve to win for this, other roles yes but not this.

Our mix is pretty close, I chose two older films and a foreign lensed one as well.

Hollywood Story (1951)-Producer Larry O’Brien (Richard Conte) decides to make a film of the infamous unsolved murder of a silent film director that had occurred decades earlier and remained shrouded in mystery. As he attempts to investigate during pre-production the truth begins to emerge and he finds his life in danger. We see behind the scenes of at the time modern filmmaking as well as the appearance of several one-time silent stars. Slightly reworked (probably because many of the participants were still living) version of the infamous real life murder of silent film director William Desmond Taylor which remains officially unsolved to this day and destroyed the careers of silent stars Mabel Normand and Mary Miles Minter and rocked the 1922 film community.

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)-Movie producer Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), ruthless and opportunistic claws his way from bottom of the barrel movies to the apex of studio system success. Along the way he enlists, uses and betrays movie star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner in her best screen work), director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan) and writer James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell) making sworn enemies of each. Now down on his luck Shields, though his agent (Walter Pidgeon), attempts to involve them in a collaborative project but old wounds are not so easily healed. Nominated for six Oscars it won five including Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actress (Gloria Grahame-a great actress but her role is a nothing).

Contempt (1963)-Writer Paul Laval (Michel Piccoli) is hired by boorish American producer Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) to contemporize his current film’s script about Ulysses which he feels director Fritz Lang (who plays himself) is making too prosaic. Heading to the Isle of Capri with wife Camille (Brigitte Bardot) in tow he becomes enmeshed in the process of filming as his marriage disintegrates in large part due to Camille’s resentment that Paul is using her to leverage his position in the production. Directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't recall having seen any of these yet. I think Hearts of the West was on TCM just the other day. And Bad and the Beautiful gets shown fairly regularly on TCM.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Birgit said...

Since I was away last weekend and they had TCM, I watched many movies including the one with Jeff Bridges which I had never seen before. I enjoyed it even though it is not as good as some others made in the 70’s. bad & the Beautiful is excellent and seems to be a veiled treatment on Val Lewton I had read. Great acting although Gloria Grahame really had a very small part

Daniel said...

God I LOVE The Bad and The Beautiful. So well-shot and the performances are all stellar. I got Day For Night at the last Criterion sale and cannot wait to watch it.