Why, I nearly forgot that the Cinematheque is screening Vincente Minnelli’s ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’ tonight at 7:30PM

Today’s just one of those days when the title of a post might as well say it all. Obviously I apologize for waiting until the last minute to write this sucker; my plate’s a little overloaded at the moment.

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The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) is definitely a must-see if you’ve never. It’s the rare work of art that functions both as a vicious backhand and as an emphatic pat-on-the-back; it’s also got some outstanding performances by the perpetually and adorably ridiculous Gloria Grahame, the slippery and macho Kirk Douglas, and a toppling tower of a sell job by Dick Powell, who is outstanding as an academic man’s man and prominent member of the Southern literati who gets dragged into the pervasive craziness of the Hollywood machine.

The Bad and the Beautiful feels as though it contains much, much more than it really does, which is to say that it’s marked by illusions of excess, and all its cinematographic flashiness and melodramatic pyrotechnics cover up the fact that the film is rather simply designed and assembled. To borrow a term from Robert Venturi, The Bad and the Beautiful is a decorated shed, but it’s a shed that you probably want to visit.

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