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
There is a scene in this film at about the 42 minute mark that is among the worst I have seen in some time. As F. Scott Fitzgerald (Gregory Peck) and Sheilah Graham (Deborah Kerr) are lounging on the beach, suddenly things become tense and Sheilah begins to cry--at which point she tells her lover about her sordid past. This "dramatic scene" becomes so terribly overdone and histrionic I couldn't help but turn to my wife and exclaim how stupid it all was...as dramatic music swelled on the television as it all came to a phony crescendo. NO ONE experiences moments like this--no one. Now how much of the rest of the film is true, I cannot say, but this particular moment was laughably bad and as fake as an $8 Rolex--and leads me to assume that some of the other reviewers were correct--the film is a lot of bunk. However, I am not an expert on the life of these two people and the internet didn't seem to clear this up, either.
Just who were F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham and what was their relationship really like? What I do know about Fitzgerald, however, does seem different from what I saw in the film. Was he the suave and decent man we initially see in the film? Well, considering he was married at the same time he was carrying on with Graham and drank like a fish, I'd assume he wasn't. Was he as obnoxious and boorish as we later see in the film? Perhaps, but if he was this bad AND yet Ms. Graham stayed with him, then this makes her out to be a complete dummy--and not someone you'd like to see featured in a film. And, if he wasn't, then the film does a poor disservice to his memory. Either way, it made for a painful and not particularly pleasant viewing experience.
The sum total of this film appears to be a tale of two not particularly likable or healthy people. In a dark and salacious way, some might find this all very entertaining, but most are sure to see this as a train wreck with no surprises along the way! Unpleasant but with glossy production values (especially the music, which was lovely but way over the top) it begs the question "why did they even choose to make this in the first place?". The bottom line--it's a pretty bad film all around and probably not worth your time--even if, like me, you are big Gregory Peck fan.
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