Film is of the Sunset Blvd. and A Star Is Born genre, an inside Hollywood story. It’s sometimes so brittle and brutal as to prove disturbing. It differs from the Clifford Odets stage play of 1949, when John Garfield starred.
Rod Steiger vividly interprets the Janus aspects of the studio head who knows when to con and cajole Jack Palance into a 7-year deal. He has no compunction about staging an ‘accidental death’ of one of those ‘casting couch contractees’ (Shelley Winters), foiled by his laconic and resourceful publicity director.
Wendell Corey is properly ‘the cynical Celt’, Steiger’s resourceful hatchet-man in the clinches. Ida Lupino scores as the realistic wife who wants Palance to forget the Hollywood loot and return to his ‘ideals’.