The Bad and the Beautiful (PG)

Starring: Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon

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The Independent Online

Vincente Minnelli's minor classic of 1952 is the flipside to Sunset Boulevard: Hollywood on Hollywood at its most forgiving.

Kirk Douglas stars as the unscrupulous film producer Shields, in disgrace but still passionate about movies. His studio manager calls in three Hollywood players, a director (Barry Sullivan), a star (Lana Turner) and a screenwriter (Dick Powell), who've sworn never to work with Shields again.

In their flashback stories, we discover why. Minnelli gives an insider's glimpse into a system where reward and betrayal are obverse sides of the same coin: the trio have been stitched up in different ways by Shields, yet they also know he has "made" them. The minor roles are the standouts – Gloria Grahame as a ditzy Southern belle, Gilbert Roland as a Latin Lothario – while David Raksin's score is one of old Hollywood's most swooningly beautiful. He should have got an Oscar, though the picture did win five others, notably for Charles Schnee's script and Robert Surtees' shadowy photography. This has "industry favourite" written all over it.