This is the story of a vicious, bitter, firstclass heel who rises to stardom on the blood of those close to him. Without a single redeeming quality, part played by Stephen Boyd is unsympathetic virtually from opening shots.
Clarence Green as producer and Russell Rouse as director are unrelenting in their development of the character, in screenplay on which they collabed with Harlan Ellison [based on Richard Sale’s novel], and they make handsome use of the Hollywood background.
Boyd is surrounded by some offbeat casting which adds an interesting note. Milton Berle switches to dramatic role as a top Hollywood agent, and Tony Bennett, the singer, portrays a straight character, Boyd’s longtime friend victimized by the star in his battle for success.
Boyd makes the most of his part, investing it with an audience-hate symbol which he never once compromises. Elke Sommer, as his studio-designer wife who is another of his victims, is chief distaff interest in a well-undertaken portrayal. Eleanor Parker excels in the rather thankless role of a studio talent scout and dramatic coach who discovers Boyd in NY.
An arresting impression is made by Hedda Hopper, playing herself.
1966: Nominations: Best Color Costume Design, Color Art Direction