Starting with a funeral this film tells, through the flashback perspective of three difference characters tells the story of the making of a movie and the rise of a young Spanish dancer. Harry Dawes think sthat his career as a film director are over until he is hired by Kirk Edwards to write and direct a film set in Rome. The two travel to Madrid where they find the beautiful flamenco dancer Maria Vargas as their star. In Rome, wealthy men fight for her love.
Having savaged the theatre in All About Eve, double Oscar-winning director Joseph L. Mankiewicz here pours his bile on the film industry through the story of a flamenco dancer Maria Vargas (Gardner) who rises from poverty to brief, tragic stardom. It all flashes back from a funeral through three different perspectives, as trench-coated director Bogart (who cops all the best cynical lines) and cynical press agent O'Brien (who copped a Best Supporting Actor Oscar) reminisce about the dead girl. Gardner is fiery fun and there's image-breaking sleaze from suave Rossano Brazzi as an impotent, homicidal Prince Charming.
Entertaining satire from a talented cast.