Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.
Sunday, 15 May 2011
The Best of Everything
Rona Jaffe's bestseller THE BEST OF EVERYTHING is back in the bookshops - due to the success of MAD MEN on tv, where Don Draper is seen reading it. Perhaps the movie will be back too? It is one of those perfect '50s confections, exploring the lives of loves of office girls in New York in the oh-so glamorous world of paperback publishing. It is a well-crafted story following Hope Lange as she emerges from the subway (with that nice touch of the breeze blowing up her bolero jacket showing us the lining material) wearing her white gloves and hat. Then we get to meet the other girls including Diane Baker (falls for a cad [Robert Evans no less] who wants her to have an abortion and then she meets a nice doctor!), fashion icon Suzy Parker who was in a few movies at this time as Gregg the actress who is just not good enough and cannot handle rejection by cad Louis Jourdan ... there is also Martha Hyer having an affair with an office colleague but that story is practically snipped out as the film focuses on the three main girls, with Hope getting involved with Stephen Boyd, and then her old flame Brett Halsey re-appears and he wants her to be his mistress.
There's a few old timers too - Brian Aherne as the lecherous boss and "as Amanda Farrow" Joan Crawford in full fighting mode as the office dragon making life hell for the girls in the typing pool. Amanda leaves to be with her long time married lover, so Hope gets promoted to her place, but it seems Amanda has left it too late..
It has those lush 20th Century Fox production values including that Johnny Mathis theme tune as the credits unfold over New York in the 50s - and is a sterling addition to those '3 girls sharing an apartment and looking for love' movies they did so well - usually directed by Jean Negulesco, who helms again here. The book was a bestseller at the time, along with those other torrid tales like PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious, MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR (Natalie Wood in the '58 film) by Herman Wouk and A SUMMER PLACE by Sloan Wilson - all successful movies too, showing America in the late '50s before all that liberation stuff began! Then came the early '60s and titles like THE CHAPMAN REPORT (I have already reviewed this delirious Cukor classic) and Mary McCarty's THE GROUP [filmed by Lumet in 66] before we got to John Updike and RABBIT RUN! We move on to A SUMMER PLACE shortly ...