Just as he later ridiculed the inanities of American TV in Network, writer Paddy Chayevsky took the Hollywood star system to task in this equally savage satire. He cribbed the story directly from Ava Gardner's life: a small town girl of the Depression marries her way out of her background, abandons her husband, changes her name and sleeps her way to stardom. Once at the top, she can't cope with her fame and becomes increasingy suicidal. Although brilliantly played in best Method style by Kim Stanley, this would-be screen goddess is more a caricature than a character. Given what happened to Monroe a few years later, the script seems both cruel and strangely prophetic.