Jack Andrus (Kirk Douglas) was an actor until he had a nervous breakdown and was admitted into a facility where he was slowly getting better. Then an invitation reaches him from director Maurice Kruger (Edward G. Robinson): he should come to Rome, where Kruger is working on a movie in which Jack could have a small part. Jack can’t resist and so he finds himself in Rome for two weeks. But things there aren’t all fun and games: Kruger and his wife Clara (Claire Trevor) are constantly fighting, the film’s young star Davie (George Hamilton) is erratic, and Jack’s ex Carlotta (Cyd Charisse) is also in town and immediately on Jack’s case. But maybe that’s just what he needs.
I really liked this movie. It’s a tad campy in parts and the ending is overblown, but somehow it all works wonderfully anyway.
Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas) is a once-great producer who has fallen from grace. In a last attempt to resurrect his career, he calls in an actress (Lana Turner), a writer (Dick Powell) and a director (Barry Sullivan) he helped to make into stars. But all three of them are very reluctant to help Shields since he betrayed all of them in turn. While they think about it, their first encounters with Shields are retold.
The movie has its weaknesses, but altogether I really, really liked it. Mostly due to Kirk Douglas, Gloria Grahame and Vincente Minnelli’s beautiful direction.
Wade Hunnicutt (Robert Mitchum) dominates not only his entire family but basically his entire town, where he has slept with almost the entire female population. His wife Hannah (Eleanor Parker) tolerates it and compensates by doting on their son Theron (George Hamilton). But when Theron tries to get out from under his mother’s wing, he turns to his father and his father’s loyal employee Rafe (George Peppard) and gets his first hunting lessons.
I went into the film not knowing much about it [I had totally forgotten why I wanted to see it and therefore reserved a ticket – I didn’t even know the general plot anymore], so I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect. That means that for the first bit of the film I was a bit unsure because nothing much happened. But once I realized that this was just a family story and stopped waiting for the big events, I absolutely fell in love with the film.