The Bad and the Beautiful

1952 film

The Bad and the Beautiful is a 1952 film in which an actress, a director, and a writer are asked to help revive the career of ruthless Hollywood studio bigwig Jonathan Shields. However, all three are reluctant because they have all been used and betrayed by him in the past.

Directed by Vincente Minnelli. Written by Charles Schnee, based on the short story "Tribute to a Badman" by George Bradshaw.
The story of a blonde who wanted to go places, and a brute who got her there - the hard way! (taglines)

Georgia Lorrison

  • [to Bartlow, about Shields] You're the first person I ever knew who began by hating him and ended up liking him. Do you always do everything backwards?

Fred Amiel

  • Jonathan is more than a man. He's an experience, and he's habit-forming. If they could ever bottle him, he'd out-sell Ginger Ale.

Harry Pebbel

  • I've told you a hundred times. I don't want to win awards. Give me pictures that end with a kiss and black ink on the books.


Shields: The best legal counsel advised me to change my name.
Amiel: Because the town thought your father was a heel?
Shields: He wasn't a heel. He was the heel. Yeah, we couldn't stand living in the same town together but I liked him a lot. He made great pictures. So will I.
Amiel: You haven't much to begin with.
Shields: No, he brought me up to start at the top. How do you start at the bottom?
Amiel: Are you, uh, gonna change your name?
Shields: Change it? I'm gonna ram the name of Shields down their throats.

Shields: If you put me on, say at $300 a week, I could pay you off slowly but surely, $6,351 dollars.
Pebbel: You think you blackmailed me...Well, get this, my unit turns out 18 pictures a year. I cry for ideas. If you'd have sweat out a story for me the way you sweat out losing that $6,351 dollars, I'd have hired you anyway. Why didn't you come to me in the first place? What are you, proud?
Shields: I tried to see you, Harry. I couldn't get in.
Pebbel: Do you know who gave me my first job?
Shields: My father.
Pebbel: Yes, and you're just like him, got to angle everything the cute way.
Shields: Look, I'll pay you off a hundred a week.
Pebbel: I wouldn't take a dime. Just bring me a picture I can shoot, genius boy.
Shields: You're all right, Harry. One day, you'll work for me.

Shields: When I work on a picture, it's like romancing a girl. You see her, you want her, you go after her. The big moment. Then, the let-down, every time, every picture, the after-picture blues.
Amiel: Don't worry. Some day, you'll learn to love 'em and leave 'em.
Shields: You think so?

Georgia: I'm one girl who doesn't want to be a star.
Shields: Make up your mind. You hate him and you build this shrine to him. He died over ten years ago and you've been holding your own private wake ever since. You can't be a star in a cemetery... Because he was a drunk, you're a drunk. Because he loved women, you're a tramp. But you forget one thing. He did it with style.
Georgia: Don't waste any sleep over me, Mr. Shields. The last time I tried to commit suicide was six months ago. There won't be any next time...People who knew my father give me extra work and a line to say now and then. I drink what I want, sleep where I want. Who knows? Some day, I may even get married to a nice, upright assistant assistant.
Shields: And make him miserable for the rest of his life because you're a Lorrison, haunted, born to live by make-believe. Look at you. You're acting now, playing the doomed daughter of the great man. Well, let me tell you something. The acting isn't good enough. It's a cheap performance of a bit player, not a star. And that's all it'll ever be until you can pull yourself out of this tomb. Until you can see people as they really are, yourself as you really are, until you can do this to your father's picture, [he draws a mustache on a profiled picture of her father], and laugh the way he would have laughed. That's not a God talking, Georgia, that's only a man.

Shields: Georgia, love is for the very young.
Georgia: For the very young. I like that. Would you marry me, Jonathan?
Shields: Not even a little bit.
Georgia: That's too bad.
Shields: Why?
Georgia: Because I'd make you a good wife.
Shields: Well, right now, I don't need a wife. I need a star.

Lila: [about Georgia] She gets to be a star. I get to park the convertible.
Gaucho: Don't talk like that about Georgia - or Jonathan. He's a great man.
Lila: Ha, ha. There are no great men, buster. There's only men.

Georgia: Well, you wouldn't come to my party, so I brought my party to you. Jonathan, it was so wonderful. Everything you wanted for me just as you promised. They applauded and cheered, and they oohh-ed and aahh-ed.
Shields: Georgia, go back and enjoy it.
Georgia: But there's no one to enjoy it with.
Shields: Why that's silly! Everybody in town is fighting with each other to be near the new star.
Georgia: You know what I mean, Jonathan.
Shields: Georgia, I have to be alone tonight. After a picture is finished, something happens to me. It's a feeling of letdown, emptiness. It's bad. It gets worse. I can't help it.
Georgia: I know, Syd and Harry have told me about that. Oh, but tonight.
Shields: I will only depress you. I want you to go back, now. You've got bows to take. Take them.
Georgia: Darling, I was afraid you might be angry or resent my coming here, but - but I had to take that chance. Why, right in the middle of everything, suddenly I knew one thing so clearly, the party's where you are. Depressed, or gay, or angry, or tender, or in any of your moods, I know them all.
Shields: Georgia.
Georgia: Oh, let's have our party, darling. We've got so much to celebrate. We'll ice the champagne, we'll light the fire, and we'll put on the records and dance, and I'll help you pull yourself out of this - the way you helped me. Oh, give me that chance, darling, please! [She hugs him] Please don't shut me out. Please!
[Lila enters]
Lila: I thought you said you were gonna get rid of her quick.
Shields: [to Georgia] Now will you go back to your party?
Lila: The picture's finished, Georgia. You're business. I'm company.
Shields: [to Lila] Shut up! Shut up and get back upstairs.
Lila: All right. I forgot to tell you, Georgia, I saw the picture. Thought you were swell.
Shields: Stop looking like that. Remember, I didn't ask you here. You couldn't stay where you belong, could you? You couldn't enjoy what I made possible for you. No. You'd rather have this. Well, congratulations, you've got it all laid out for you so you can wallow in pity for yourself. The betrayed woman. The wounded doe with all the drivel that goes with it going through your mind right now. Oh, he doesn't love me at all. He was lying. All those lovely moments, those tender words. He's lying. He's cheap and cruel. That low-woman Lila. Well, maybe I like Lilas. Maybe I like to be cheap once in a while. Maybe everybody does, or don't you remember? [She recoils] Get that look off your face! Who gave you the right to dig into me and turn me inside out and decide what I'm like. [He grabs her by the hair] How do you know how I feel about you, how deep it goes? Maybe I don't want anybody to own me. You or anybody. Get out! Get out! Get out!

Bartlow: I know the legend, Jonathan Shields, the man will do anything to get what he wants...Shields Pictures Incorporated. Well, I'm flattered you want me, and bitter you got me. Where do I start?
Shields: Just read these scripts, see how it's done, rough out a story line, and then we'll get to work. And don't worry, some of the best movies are made by people working together who hate each other's guts.
Bartlow: Then we should make a great movie.
Shields: I usually do.
Bartlow: What about your last two?
Shields: I like 'em.

Shields: You call that directing?
Von Ellstein: That is what I've been calling it for thirty-two years.
Shields: Why, there are values and dimensions in that scene you haven't begun to hit.
Von Ellstein: Perhaps not the values and dimensions I wish to hit. I could make this scene a climax. I could make every scene in this picture a climax. If I did, I would be a bad director. And I like to think of myself as one of the best. A picture with all climaxes is like a necklace without a string. It falls apart. You must build to the big moment and sometimes, you must build slowly. You see this picture one way, and I another. It will be done your way, but not by me, and not by any other director who respects himself. You know what you must do, Mr. Shields, so that you'll have it exactly as you want it? You must direct this picture yourself. To direct a picture, a man needs humility. Do you have humility, Mr. Shields?


  • The story of a blonde who wanted to go places, and a brute who got her there - the hard way!
  • I took you out of the gutter . . . I can fling you back!


Wikipedia has an article about: