I believe the feud started this way :
once he met Kim on the set , Larry asked her if she would have dinner with him that very evening . Kim said she was busy , so he postponed his invitation to the following evening . Kim replied that she was busy on that date too , so Larry asked her "how about next week?" to which she answered : "I don't know what I will do next week !" At that point it was quite clear that she was deliberately rude towards him , so I think he had his reasons if he made life difficult for her .
Another thing : Larry was a bit of a perfectionist and probably wasn't satisfied with Kim's awful performance.
Of course he was a quite difficult chap to work with , but it must be said that his respect towards his co-stars was usually directly proportional to the admiration he had for their abilities . He went perfectly along with Simone Signoret , Julie Christie , Liz Taylor , Billie Whitelaw , John Wayne , Richard Widmark , Julie Harris , Virginia Mayo , Frank Sinatra , Angela Lansbury and plenty of others .
Now it's easy to always give the blame on Harvey because of his reputation , but Novak was also well-known for her rage tantrums on the set and for her often irritating behaviour . Her recent , unnecessary tirade against "The Artist" is evidence that she's still a pain in the ass .
About Larry beating his girlfriends .. I think that she only hit Hermione Baddeley at a party where they were both drunk ( she had apparently insulted and chased away Joan Collins ) . None of his wives ever complained that he was violent . He's one of my favourite actors as well .
it was quite clear that she was deliberately rude towards him
Why? Because she did not want to go out with him? She had the right to deny invitations.
Kim's awful performance
That's a personal opinion (and a cliché), as mine liking her performance. I think he is the one who was not good.