MILEPOST #988

By Ken Brafman, Image from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios

TITLE: THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL: One of the many prestigious Hollywood films that used Lake Arrowhead as a backdrop is The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).Kirk Douglas stars as tough, ambitious Hollywood producer Jonathan Shields. Producer Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon) has summoned director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), screenwriter James Bartlow (Dick Powell), and movie star Georgia Lorrison (Lana Turner) to his office. He has brought them together to talk to Shields on the phone. Shields has an idea for a new film, and to secure financing Pebbel tells them that he needs to get their names on the project. What unfolds are a series of flashbacks that tell the backstory of the man who “ruined their lives.” Shields meets aspiring director Amiel and they team up to make B pictures for Pebbel, and Shields uses Amiel to secure $1 million financing for a film and then betrays him. Shields then solicits writer Bartlow to adapt his novel for the screen. He resists the idea but is persuaded by his wife Rosemary, played by Gloria Grahame. When Shields learns that Amiel’s work is being slowed by Rosemary’s constant distractions, he engages his suave actor friend Victor “Gaucho” Ribera (Gilbert Roland) to keep her occupied. Some scenes are filmed in a rowboat on Lake Arrowhead, while Bartlow toils at the typewriter in a local cabin. Lorrison is the daughter of a famous actor Shields admired, and an alcoholic. This week’s image is a real photo depicting Douglas and Turner at poolside. He builds up her confidence and gives her the leading role in one of his movies. When she falls in love with him, he lets her think that he feels the same way to get the performance he needs. After a smash premiere makes her a star overnight, she finds him with a beautiful bit player. Ultimately, the trio turn down Shield’s offer. But when they leave Pebbel’s office they pick up an extension phone to eavesdrop, and interest in the project grows.

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