Stadt der Illusionen (1952)

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Stadt der Illusionen: Directed by Vincente Minnelli. With Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell. An unscrupulous movie producer uses an actress, a director and a writer to achieve success.

“Producer Jonathan Shields is in big trouble on a production and reaches out to three people heu0026#39;s befriended and betrayed in the past for help. All three are brought to Harry Pebbelu0026#39;s office where he makes a pitch for the help of each one. And weu0026#39;re told in flashback the dynamics of the relationships between Shields and each one.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eOne thing about Tinseltown, theyu0026#39;ve never been afraid to show the seamier side of movie-making. Kirk Douglasu0026#39;s Jonathan Shields is a not too thinly disguised version of David O. Selznick. The same drive, the same ambition, the same overwhelming ego that Selznick was legendary for is a part that was tailor made for Kirk Douglas.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe three betrayed people, director Fred Amiel(Barry Sullivan), star Georgia Lorrison(Lana Turner), and screenwriter James Lee Barlow(Dick Powell)all ring very true. One of the things I like about this film is that all three stories, each in itself, could be expanded into a film all itu0026#39;s own. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eLana Turneru0026#39;s role as the ersatz Diana Barrymore is not to hard to spot either. Itu0026#39;s so much better here than the film based on her own book Too Much Too Soon. If that voice of Turneru0026#39;s actor father on those 78 rpms sheu0026#39;s playing sounds familiar, itu0026#39;s that of Louis Calhern. Turneru0026#39;s was a life lived out all too well in the tabloids and she brings all of it to bear in playing Gerogia Lorrison.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eDick Powell, who was offered the lead as Jonathan Shields, opted to play tweedy professor turned screenwriter James Lee Barlow. This was Powellu0026#39;s next to last feature picture as an actor, it should have been the one he went out on. Powell was always ahead of the industryu0026#39;s cutting edge and he decided to concentrate more on directing and acting for the small screen.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003ePowellu0026#39;s segment includes Gloria Grahame as his flirty wife. Post World War II Hollywood, whenever it had a part for a tramp, first call Gloria Grahame. Here she responds with an Academy Award winning performance. She hasnu0026#39;t many scenes, but as was said in another MGM picture around that time, what there is is cherce.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI donu0026#39;t think thereu0026#39;s ever been an actor who can go from zero to sixty on the emotional scale as quickly as Kirk Douglas. Check the scene when Lana Turner discovers how Douglas betrayed her. The intensity of his reaction alone is frightening and real. Douglas was also up for an Oscar, but it went that year to laconic Gary Cooper in High Noon.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eVincente Minelli put all the pieces together just right and it comes out great entertainment.”


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