The Bad and the Beautiful, 1952

This one is for aspiring novelists. Have you been told your stories are great except for your wooden characters, poor timing, and lack of tension? This movie should get you back on track.

Kirk Douglas plays Jonathan Shields the discouraged son of much-hated movie mogul Hugo Shields who left him no inheritance. After he paid people to be mourners at his dad’s funeral, he took up the mantle and became insanely determined to change the way people saw the name Shields.

Jonathan met Fred (Barry Sullivan), a man struggling to make an appearance on the big screen as a movie director because he was too humble to get the words out to promote his great talent. Jonathan met Georgia (Lana Turner), the depressed daughter of a well-known actor who hid his alcoholism from everyone but his daughter. And later in his career, Jonathan met writer Jim (Dick Powell) whose beautiful wife was a constant interruption to his career. All three held a grudge against Shields, but all three had reason to thank him for their career success.

Vincente Minnelli directed The Bad and the Beautiful very well, but missed out on getting an Oscar for it. Academy Awards went to Gloria Grahame, who played Jim’s wife Rosemary and won Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and to Charles Schnee for Best Writing, Screenplay. Oscars were also won for Best Art Direction/Set Direction in a Black and White, Best Cinematography in a Black and White, and Best Costume Design in a Black and White. Kirk Douglas was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role, but Gary Cooper won that year for his role in High Noon.

There is much to learn from this story. Jim the writer’s oft-repeated line in this story is, “I started to work.” That’s a familiar line with a lot of writers. Failures and successes come and go, but the determined will keep trying until they get another success.

An Orderly Account

How do you spread the good news of Jesus Christ?

Not everyone tells their testimony the same way. Preachers preach from the pulpit, but not everyone has a pulpit. I know novelists who tell about Jesus in subtle ways through the characters they write. Over the past few years, there have been movies whose focus is sharing the love of Jesus in an entertaining format. There are parents who see their own children as their ministry.

We don’t all have the same audience.

On my devotional blog, Seek God With Me, I’m taking a look at writing an orderly account of your testimony. Many of us have something to tell about, but not many of us have written it down.

See what Luke has to say on Seek God With Me.

Scandal Sheet, 1952

Mark Chapman, the editor who plans to turn a New York newspaper into a wealth-producing machine, will sell papers with scandal, sensationalism, and gossip, and he’ll get rich doing it. His latest scheme is the Lonely Hearts Club dance where lucky couples will marry someone they’ve just met and win valuable prizes. His paper will have the exclusive and run features on the couples who get together. However, Chapman didn’t count on meeting his long-ago-abandoned wife at the dance.

Reporters on the scene, Julie Allison and Steve McCleary, find clues to the identity of the one who murdered one of the women who had attended the Lonely Hearts Club dance. When they discover they know the murderer, they fear for their lives.

The audience knows who the murderer is, but that doesn’t spoil the suspense. Since I knew the clues, I could worry about which clues they would pick up on.

Broderick Crawford played editor Mark Chapman, but I’ve also seen him as the villain in Born Yesterday, 1950. Donna Reed’s character, Julie Allison, was smart and compassionate, but the two male stars were playing arrogant oafs. Cheering for Donna Reed’s Miss Allison and booing John Derek’s McCleary was fun as they worked through their personal differences and helped each other get to the bottom of the mystery. I could see how John Derek’s McCleary was fooled by his blind trust. I think the last time I saw John Derek was as Joshua in the Ten Commandments, which released in 1956.

Biddle, the photographer who worked with them, was played by Harry Morgan who played Col. Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H*.

Write The Words

Can people really hear from God?

I believe we can if we’ll give God more of our attention. But what happens to the words He speaks to our hearts? How are we supposed to remember everything God tells us?

Today on Seek God With Me, I’m discussing the importance of a prayer journal. Keeping a journal is a good way to remember the direction God has been guiding us.

How do you keep God’s words?

There Goes My Heart, 1938

Heiress Joan Butterfield has an argument on her yacht right before she escapes to the freedom of anonymity. Reporter Bill Spencer finds out who she is, keeps her identity a secret so he can write the story for his newspaper, and then falls in love.

Sounds like It Happened One Night?

Ed Sullivan got credit for writing the original story. I don’t know how original it was. He wrote the story for four movies in addition to this one before he became the host of The Ed Sullivan Show (or as it was originally known, Toast of the Town), which aired from 1948 to 1971.

It Happened One Night was released in 1934, and the story was written by Samuel Hopkins Adams. There were a few more movies, in addition to There Goes My Heart, who played off the success of It Happened One Night.

There are differences which make the story seem a little more original. Spencer, played by Fredric March, has never seen the famous heiress’s face. Most people haven't. When he finds out the heiress, played by Virginia Bruce, is working at Butterfield’s department store, he works his way into her life to get a great story. Then when he decides to tear up the story and walk out on the assignment, things happen without his knowledge and ruin his plans.

Storm in a Teacup, 1937

A dog named Patsy is an unwitting participant in a politician’s fight for popularity.

Frank Burdon, played by 29-year-old Rex Harrison, meets Victoria Gow, played by 24-year-old Vivien Leigh, on a trip to a Scottish small town where he’s to accept a job at the local newspaper.

His job is to interview local politician William Gow, but something goes awry. Burdon runs into Victoria again and finds out she’s the politician’s daughter. That doesn’t stop him from falling for her, and she can’t seem to stay away from him either. When she finds out he’s written an awful article about her father, she isn’t impressed and doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. However, he’s charming and keeps her interest through it all.

The article Burdon wrote is about a woman who was too poor to buy a license for her dog. Sara Allgood plays Honoria Hegarty, the owner of the dog. She tries to get the politician, Gow, to help her fix her situation, but he was too proud to help her. Burdon sees Gow’s actions as he works on getting the assigned article written.

The problem with Gow’s attitude toward the woman is that it directly opposed what Gow wanted written about him in the assigned article. Since Gow can’t see himself like Burdon sees him, he doesn’t take any hints to correct his attitude. He even ignores his daughter’s pleas to help the woman. On the night Gow is scheduled to make an important speech, the townsfolk show up not to support Gow, but to bark at him. All Gow’s troubles escalate until Burdon ends up on trial.

Is this a courtroom drama or a romance? Is it a tail of woe? To be sure, Gow had a ruff time of it.

When Vivien Leigh had scenes of turmoil, her lines sounded British (of course), but her face was totally Scarlett O’Hara. But it would be two more years before she would take on that role.

Make It Plain

I intend to listen when God speaks. We should all focus on God’s words when he speaks to a specific situation in our lives. We can write it down to remember what he said.

God has spoken to me about specific events in my life, and I made sure I did what he said. I wrote it down to help me remember it for later. I even told my husband and made it plain to him so he would understand what God had said.

Today at Seek God With Me, I am sharing the Bible verse that urges us to make our revelations from God plain to others. When we tell our revelations to those whom it affects, we are giving them the ability to apply God’s wisdom to the situation so they can be blessed.

Join me today at Seek God With Me.