24 January 2012 | blanche-2
Goes nowhere - does nothing
What the heck was this? The Bad and the Beautiful Goes on the Twentieth Century, I guess. Based on a novel by Romain Gary, Fonda plays Willie Bauche, a triple threat in the Orson Welles tradition whose films don't make any money, so he soon finds himself kicked out of the studio. While observing a screen test, he becomes interested in the actress doing the test, Ann Garantier (Leslie Caron) and decides to make her the biggest thing since Greta Garbo, manipulating his old boss at the studio to sign her. Ann and Willie fall in love and marry. On their wedding night, Willie becomes involved in some movie business and leaves the hotel. This turns Ann off, and the implication is that she doesn't sleep with him - and six months later, apparently, she's still not sleeping with him. His work always takes precedence over her, and she doesn't like it.
While on a trip to Paris, Ann meets a soldier, played by Cesare Danova, and runs away with him. He applies for discharge from his regiment and tells her that he's supposed to leave at the end of the week, but he's not going.
I've actually described the plot of this film in a much more exciting way than it was filmed. All I'll say is that Leslie Caron looked beautiful and had some beautiful clothes. Everyone is very low key and says their lines as if they're on their deathbed. Except for Fonda, they all sort of moan.
The lead role, Willie, is indeed a Welles type or the kind of producer played by Barrymore in Twentieth Century. Fonda was in comedies, but he was usually the straight man. This role called for a flamboyant, meglomaniacal performance. Fonda was a very internalized actor - I can't imagine anyone worse for this role. It's like having Cary Grant play Mahatma Gandhi.
A complete waste of time - your time, my time, and the actors' time.