Kirk Douglas starred. It seems to me now that in every movie I saw him in when I was a kid, he played a heel, someone who thought of himself as being a little bit smarter than everybody else and willing to use them to get what he wants. Here he's a Hollywood producer, down on his luck, whose story is told by three people in separate flashbacks that give the members of a great cast a chance to show their stuff as Douglas uses each of them and tosses them aside.
I thought it was brutal realism when I saw it long ago, but now I can see that it's really all Hollywood glamour and gloss. But I don't care. It's great stuff, anyway, the kind of big honking soap opera they really don't make anymore. Filmed in glorious black and white.