Toward the end of his life F. Scott Fitzgerald is writing for Hollywood studios to be able to afford the cost of an asylum for his wife. He is also struggling against alcoholism. Into his life comes the famous gossip columnist.
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In 1936, the witty columnist Sheilah Graham leaves her noble British fiancé and travels in the Queen Mary from Southampton, England, to New York. She seeks out the editor of the North American Newspaper Alliance, John Wheeler, offering her services but he sends her to the Daily Mirror. Sheilah becomes successful and John offers a job in Hollywood to write a gossip column about the stars. When Sheilah meets the decadent writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, they immediately fall in love. Sheilah discovers that Scott accepts any job to financially support his wife Zelda that is in asylum, and his daughter at a boarding school. She opens her heart to him and tells the truth about her origins; but their relationship is affected by his drinking problem. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Beloved Infidel is based on the memoirs of Hollywood columnist Sheilah Graham, specifically her three year affair with F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is still a legend in American literature, and a genuine legend in his own time.
That's the key to the film. Can you imagine in the previous century Charles Dickens whose works in the United Kingdom were also acclaimed in his time getting a contract and asked to turn out potboiler drama three or four times a year for the London stage? In the late 1930s F. Scott Fitzgerald was in Hollywood having to pay mounting bills for his wife Zelda's care and his daughter schooling and the way to quick cash was in Hollywood writing screenplays.
But the studios don't want genius, they want entertainment churned out quickly on a mass scale. That isn't how Fitzgerald operates. So he's fired and returns to the alcoholism that was his lifestyle during his literary hey day in the Roaring Twenties.
As Fitzgerald, Gregory Peck's one consolation in his final years is the love affair with Hollywood columnist Sheilah Graham. I have to disagree with the other reviewers who say this film is too rosy a portrayal. Remember this is Sheilah Graham's work this is based on and it's through her eyes we see Peck's disintegration. Deborah Kerr is once again a prim and proper Sheilah Graham whose slum background she's worked like a demon to overcome.
Peck and Kerr work well together, but as this is a Henry King film from 20th Century Fox, I wouldn't be surprised if the film might have been intended for Tyrone Power at one point. If it had been Power would have been well cast in the part of Fitzgerald.
This is also Henry King's next to last film and take a look at his film credits and the astonishing list of classic films that he did over 50 years in Hollywood. I guess as a followup to Beloved Infidel, King chose to do a film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night. That one for some reason is never shown.
Beloved is a classic old fashioned romantic drama the kind that sadly is not being made any more.
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