The film begins as three separate people receive a phone call from Paris from one Jonathan Shields. Each of them denies the call (well, one accepts the charges as long as Shields is paying, then responds with a "drop dead" before hanging up the phone). The three are soon summoned to the studio, where we learn Mr. Shields wants to work with them again. One by one (in a series of flashbacks) we learn about each person's past with Shields and the reason they've rejected him. The multi-person narrative had been used previously by such films as Citizen Kane (if you're gonna borrow, why not borrow from the best?) but it gives the film a dynamic, modern quality and won the film an Oscar for Best Screenplay. The film went on to win 5 Oscars in total (and with the little golden guy on display in the film and a special thanks to the Academy at the end of the film for the use of the statues, how could it have not won some of its own? And the love affair continues...) and has the distinction of the most Oscar wins without a Best Picture nomination.
Shields (Kirk Douglas in an Best Actor Oscar nominated performance) is a megalomaniacal Hollywood producer that betrayed the three. He is said to be based on David O. Selznick, who's control over films' productions was legendary. But the film within the film, The Doom of the Cat Men, that's his hit with the director Fred Amiel, played by Barry Sullivan, (and the subject of the first narrative) is said to be based on Val Lewton's Cat People. The other characters of the story – a Southern writer that goes on to win the Pulitzer Prize (Dick Powell as James Lee Bartlow) is said to be based on William Faulkner and an alcoholic actress of a famous actor father gets her inspiration from John Barrymore's daughter (and Drew's aunt), Diana. The only difference is that Diana's career was a non-starter and Georgia Lorrison, the actress in the film, goes on to be a big star. And when she's portrayed by movie star, Lana Turner, is there any question that she wouldn't be?
This was actually the first film that I've seen Lana Turner in. Of course her reputation proceeds her, but that's mainly due to the fabricated story of being discovered as "the sweater girl" and the infamy involving the murder of her mobster lover by her teenage daughter. Which is a polite way of saying, she's not really known for her acting. But, not being able to compare it to any of her previous work, I can say that she lives up to the film's title. She has a sexual energy that is anything but the girl next door (The Bad) and there is absolutely no question about her beauty. I even thought about choosing this shot as the best for no other reason than the sheer gorgeousness of it: