The Best of Everything (1959)

121-122 mins | Melodrama | October 1959

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HISTORY

HR news items yield the following information about this production: Lee Remick, Diane Varsi, Nina Foch, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner and Margaret Leighton were all considered for starring roles and Martin Ritt was originally slated to direct. Stuart Whitman was considered for the role of "David Savage" and Barry Coe tested for the part of "Dexter Key." A Dec 1959 HR news item noted that Lionel Kane replaced Gardner McKay in the role of "Paul Landers." Although HR production charts included Buck Class in the cast, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Studio publicity contained in the films production files at the AMPAS Library noted that Wald bought the rights to Rona Jaffe's best-selling novel when the book was still in manuscript form. According to a May 1959 NYT news item and studio publicity, location filming was done at the Seagram Building, the Alfred E. Smith Housing Project, and around Central Park and Sheridan Square, in New York City.
       According to the NYT review, the character of "Amanda Farrow" played a much smaller part in Jaffe's novel than in the film. The reviewer speculated that the part was expanded to accomodate Joan Crawford. The ^NYT reviewer also commented that the romance between "Mr. Shalimar" and the divorced "Barbara Lamont" was the most developed relationship in the novel, whereas in the film it was barely alluded to. Modern sources add that Crawford insisted on her name being billed separately. Adele Palmer's costumes and Alfred Newman and Sammy Cahn's song "The Best of Everything" were nominated for Academy ... More Less

HR news items yield the following information about this production: Lee Remick, Diane Varsi, Nina Foch, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner and Margaret Leighton were all considered for starring roles and Martin Ritt was originally slated to direct. Stuart Whitman was considered for the role of "David Savage" and Barry Coe tested for the part of "Dexter Key." A Dec 1959 HR news item noted that Lionel Kane replaced Gardner McKay in the role of "Paul Landers." Although HR production charts included Buck Class in the cast, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
       Studio publicity contained in the films production files at the AMPAS Library noted that Wald bought the rights to Rona Jaffe's best-selling novel when the book was still in manuscript form. According to a May 1959 NYT news item and studio publicity, location filming was done at the Seagram Building, the Alfred E. Smith Housing Project, and around Central Park and Sheridan Square, in New York City.
       According to the NYT review, the character of "Amanda Farrow" played a much smaller part in Jaffe's novel than in the film. The reviewer speculated that the part was expanded to accomodate Joan Crawford. The ^NYT reviewer also commented that the romance between "Mr. Shalimar" and the divorced "Barbara Lamont" was the most developed relationship in the novel, whereas in the film it was barely alluded to. Modern sources add that Crawford insisted on her name being billed separately. Adele Palmer's costumes and Alfred Newman and Sammy Cahn's song "The Best of Everything" were nominated for Academy Awards. From 30 Mar--25 Sep 1970, ABC broadcast a televised series based on Jaffes novel starring Diane Kagan and directed by David Alexander. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
19 Oct 1959.
---
Box Office
26 Oct 1959.
---
Daily Variety
8 Oct 59
p. 3.
Film Daily
8 Oct 59
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Nov 57
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Dec 57
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Dec 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jan 59
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 59
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Mar 59
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
4 May 59
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 59
p. 34.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 59
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 59
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1959
p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Oct 59
p. 444.
New York Times
17 May 1959.
---
New York Times
9 Oct 59
p. 24.
Variety
14 Oct 59
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost des
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe (New York, 1958).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"The Best of Everything," words and music by Sammy Cahn and Alfred Newman, sung by Johnny Mathis.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
October 1959
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 8 October 1959
Production Date:
early May--late July 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Company of Artists, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
9 October 1959
Copyright Number:
LP14894
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
lenses by Bausch & Lomb
Duration(in mins):
121-122
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
10344
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When Caroline Bender, an eager young college graduate, reports for her first day of work as a secretary at the Fabian Publishing Company in New York City, Mary Agnes, the chatty head of the stenography pool, assigns her to work for Amanda Farrow, a ruthless, calculating editor whose regular secretary, Gregg Adams, is out sick. Also starting work that day is April Morrison, a naïve young woman in search of true love. When Amanda insists that Caroline work late to type a rejection letter to an author, Caroline reads the manuscript and offers a positive evaluation, highlighting the novel's potential. Caroline's insight impresses Mr. Shalimar, a lecherous senior executive at Fabian, and Mike Rice, the company's world-weary, cynical magazine editor. After praising Caroline's report, Mike warns her to get out of publishing and try marriage instead. That night, April invites Caroline to join her and her roommate, Gregg, for dinner. Over their meal, Caroline rhapsodizes about her fiancé, Eddie Harris, who is traveling overseas, prompting Gregg, an aspiring actress, to profess the virtues of independence. Gregg and April invite Caroline to share their apartment, and she agrees. Later, Amanda, who is conducting a secretive, unsatisfying affair with a married man, accuses Caroline of trying to steal her job. At her mother's insistence, Caroline agrees to have dinner with her friend's son, Paul Landers. As Caroline waits for Paul to pick her up at the office, Eddie phones from London to tell her he has married a rich oil heiress. Shattered, Caroline sits at the restaurant, numbly listening to the insufferable Paul list his accomplishments. Spotting Caroline from across the room, Mike ... +


When Caroline Bender, an eager young college graduate, reports for her first day of work as a secretary at the Fabian Publishing Company in New York City, Mary Agnes, the chatty head of the stenography pool, assigns her to work for Amanda Farrow, a ruthless, calculating editor whose regular secretary, Gregg Adams, is out sick. Also starting work that day is April Morrison, a naïve young woman in search of true love. When Amanda insists that Caroline work late to type a rejection letter to an author, Caroline reads the manuscript and offers a positive evaluation, highlighting the novel's potential. Caroline's insight impresses Mr. Shalimar, a lecherous senior executive at Fabian, and Mike Rice, the company's world-weary, cynical magazine editor. After praising Caroline's report, Mike warns her to get out of publishing and try marriage instead. That night, April invites Caroline to join her and her roommate, Gregg, for dinner. Over their meal, Caroline rhapsodizes about her fiancé, Eddie Harris, who is traveling overseas, prompting Gregg, an aspiring actress, to profess the virtues of independence. Gregg and April invite Caroline to share their apartment, and she agrees. Later, Amanda, who is conducting a secretive, unsatisfying affair with a married man, accuses Caroline of trying to steal her job. At her mother's insistence, Caroline agrees to have dinner with her friend's son, Paul Landers. As Caroline waits for Paul to pick her up at the office, Eddie phones from London to tell her he has married a rich oil heiress. Shattered, Caroline sits at the restaurant, numbly listening to the insufferable Paul list his accomplishments. Spotting Caroline from across the room, Mike comes to her rescue and takes her home. Drunk, Caroline begs Mike to make love to her and then passes out. Soon after, Shalimar promotes Caroline to the position of reader while Amanda enlists Gregg to work as a maid at a party at her apartment. There, Gregg meets theatrical director David Savage, who invites her to spend the night with him. At the company picnic, Gregg moons over David while Caroline dispenses business advice to Shalimar. Meanwhile, at the clubhouse, April meets playboy Dexter Key, who drives her back to New York in his snazzy sports car and then seduces her. Soon after, Gregg resigns her job as secretary to take a small role in David's new play, prompting Amanda to caution her about David's fickleness toward women. After the play opens in Boston, David decides to replace Gregg with another actress. Now obsessed with David, Gregg demeans herself by begging to stay on as an understudy. At Mary Agnes' wedding in New York, meanwhile, April faints after catching the bridal bouquet and then confides to Caroline that she is pregnant. Afterward, Caroline cooks Mike dinner, and as they are about to kiss, Eddie phones and asks to see Caroline. Realizing that Caroline is still in love with Eddie, Mike storms out. Now back in New York, Gregg becomes increasingly possessive of David and, suspecting that he might be having an affair, searches his drawers. Furious, David throws her out of his apartment and life. Dexter, meanwhile, convinces April that he plans to marry her, but after he picks her up to drive her to the ceremony, he informs her that they are headed for an abortionist. Hysterical, April jumps out of the car and suffers a miscarriage. Upon awakening at the hospital, April feels sullied and broken but is comforted by her doctor, Ronnie Wood. When Amanda quits to marry a widower from Illinois, a man she has known for years, Caroline is awarded her position and office, and Mike sarcastically congratulates her on emulating Amanda's sterile life. Soon after, Amanda returns, having realized that it is too late for her to embark on a life of domesticity, and Caroline graciously relinquishes her office. While April and Ronnie start to date, Caroline and Eddie resume their affair. Caroline naively believes that Eddie intends to divorce his wife to marry her, but when he proposes that she become his mistress, she denounces him and leaves for good. Meanwhile, Gregg, becoming increasingly depressed, begins to stalk David, and when a passerby sees her standing outside David's door, he thinks she has been locked out and tries to help. Panicked, Gregg stumbles backward and falls to her death through a hallway window. After David notifies Caroline of Gregg's death, Caroline finally senses the emptiness in her own life. As she leaves work, she sees Mike standing outside the office building, and they smile at each other and walk off together. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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