Number 31 on IMDB's top-250 movies of all time. So I'm really supposed to like this movie a lot more than I did.
Part of the problem, I suspect, is that it was probably pretty daring for its time, but that time was 1950. It seems clichéd and a little trashy now, but mainly because of later imitators. Life is unfair.
The actor coming off the best here is … Cecil B. DeMille! He actually gives a believable and unmannered performance. It's also neat to spy a pre-Dragnet goofy Jack Webb (Is he on something?) and a dour Buster Keaton. But Gloria Swanson manages to be over-the-top even playing an intentionally over-the-top role. And William Holden one-notes the doomed corrupted cynic. The script puts Chandleresque dialogue in his mouth, which I think only only a few actors can do believably. (Bogart, Eastwood, James Garner, maybe Harrison Ford on a good day.)
However, it's well worth watching, if only to improve your movie literacy. Only $7.97 at Amazon as I type!