1. Great take on the film as you ponder its central message. Especially now with controversies surrounding Birth of a Nations or the latest Polanski or Allen movies, the question is whether the artist’s personal nastiness are worth ignoring in the quest for artistic fulfillment. Personally, I think the audience has to abide by its own conscience as much as the artists do, but that always involves imperfect information. It’s a tricky tightrope walk. Excellent post!

    • Thanks, Danny! I am fascinated by that question as well–how much we’re implicated as consumers if we pay to see a film by someone we deplore. It’s true that we have less inside info than the artists usually, but with Polanski, of course, we do have enough knowledge…

  2. I loved the point you made regarding reward being worth more than life itself– a creepy concept that seems to be real popular in these inside Hollywood flicks! I’ve also read that Shields reflected the personas of Orson Welles and Val Lewton in addition to O’Selznick.

  3. As a John Ford fan, “The Bad and the Beautiful” puts me in mind of that director’s relationship with actors. There are horror stories of how he treated some of the members of his stock company, but there it is – it was a stock company. No matter how nasty things may have gotten at times, certain actors remained loyal. Did they overlook the behavior for the love of the finished work? However it was reconciled, it is part of the collaborative process.

  4. I completely agree with your analysis of Pebbel. He is, after all, a studio bigwig whose heart rests on the bottom line. Yes, Shields did advance each person’s Hollywood career, but he also destroyed something valuable in each of them. Like you said, it’s rather cruel of Pebbel to compare the damage Shields did to a scraped knee.

    Great review!

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