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|Index||16 reviews in total|
I, for one really love this movie. It has all the elements of a classic movie. Great Actors, Love , Betrayal, And Redemption. When watching don't be over critical. This was produced in the 1950's and all movies of this time are a bit over acted and fanciful. Try to view it for what it is(not a biographical documentary about Sheila Graham and F. Scott Fitzgerald) but a sweeten Hollywood version of their story. Very enjoyable.. Gregory Peck is at his understated best!! Deborah Kerr is very believable as a woman who loves this man despite his problems. This movie is very understated. The scene where Scott hits Sheila and threatens her with the gun is well acted; the violence is not used to make the movie more watchable as it is now a days. It is a film the evokes many different emotions from the viewer. There are the highs of being in love and the lows of despair and fright. It encompasses all. A great film!!!!
Firstly I will agree that this isn't the most riveting film ever made, but I will disagree with the reviewer who says that Peck is too handsome to make a believable alcoholic. We know that Fitzgerald was handsome, intelligent and charming, three things which made Peck an excellent choice to play him on film. Furthermore there is a pretty amazing scene where violence erupts between Peck and Kerr, it's truly believable, which heartbreakingly portrayed the depths to which Fitzgerald had sunk. Obviously when the story is based on Sheilah Graham's recollections, it will be purely personal and she may have softened the truth or by the same account exaggerated it. The look of the picture is beautiful, especially the wardrobe for Kerr. I say simply to get a look at two stars in their prime it's worth it to muddle through. Kerr and Peck have a tangible chemistry.
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.
In 1936, the witty columnist Sheilah Graham (Deborah Kerr) 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 (Philip Ober) offering her services but
he sends her to the Daily Mirror. Sheilah becomes successful and John
offers a job position in Hollywood to write gossips about the stars.
When Sheilah meets the decadent writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (Gregory
Peck), they immediately fall in love for each other. Sheilah discovers
that Scott is accepting any job to write screenplay to financially
support his wife Zelda that is in asylum and his daughter that is in a
boarding school. She opens her heart to him and tells the truth about
her origins; but their relationship is affected by the drinking problem
"Beloved Infidel" is a melodramatic soap-opera based on the true romance of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham along the last four years of the life of the American writer. However, the screenplay is based on the book written by Sheilah Graham that is pictured as an angel that helps the decadent and cruel drunkard. I do not know the biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald but this version is shallow and not independent. Gregory Peck is weak in the dramatic parts and the lovely Deborah Kerr is too sweet even when insulted considering the profile of the controversial reporter Sheilah Graham, considered a bitch by the industry. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "O Ídolo de Cristal" ("The Crystal Idol")
This film has all the earmarks of too many cooks spoiling the stew. Based on Shielah Graham's autobiography, it seems like the powers that be couldn't leave well enough alone. They couldn't decide if this was to be Graham's story or Fitzgerald's story, and also how much they should soft-pedal whoever's story it turned out to be. So a film that could have been a story about two fascinating (Fitzgerald) and notorious (Ms. Graham)personalities becomes a dreary disjointed soap opera about that tells us little about either. Added to this there is absolutely no period feel other than for 1959. Clumsy scene follows clumsy scene and we have no idea where we are in the story or how much time is passing. However - and this saved the film for me - Kerr has never looked lovelier, and Peck is as always a very handsome man. They truly make a beautiful, mature couple, and I only wish they had better material to work with. There is one scene that does work - Scott goes after Shielah while in a drunken state, and to see these two normally refined stars knock each other around is very disturbing and gives some fleeting idea of what goes on in a relationship such as theirs. Other than that, the movie is a wasted opportunity and achieves nowhere near the classic stature of other Wald produced soaps of the 1950 (PEYTON PLACE, THE BEST OF EVERYTHING).
This film purports to be about the last years of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his life with his paramour Sheila Graham as seen through the eyes of Ms. Graham. Sorry, wrong number! Obviously, Ms. Graham remembers through rose colored glasses. Granted, she was there and we were not but this is a very sanitized version of life with a hopeless alcoholic, has-been. Fitzgerald was the darling of the jazz age who, with his unstable wife Zelda, ran rampant through life with a joy for living which set a standard for the time. But he dried up artistically, Zelda was committed to an institution and he took to the bottle with a vengeance. The film begins when he is on his last legs, trying to make it in Hollywood as a screen writer and having an affair with Ms. Graham, a Hollywood gossip columnist. Gregory Peck is just not believable as Fitzgerald. He is not gritty enough, not desperate enough and is just.....well, he is just Gregory Peck, not F. Scott Fitzgerald. Deborah Kerr is so wrong for this part that it is ludicrous. It appears that she was chosen for the role because she had an English accent as did Ms. Graham. Sheila Graham was a kick-ass opportunist (which she had to be to make it in the business) and Kerr is much too genteel and ladylike. I'm sure Ms. Graham loved her man and that her memories (at least some of them) were romantic and wonderful but it is just all too good to be true. Fitzgerald's last days are well known enough to make this film a saccharin fairy tale.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film seems to have been vilified above and beyond the call of critical duty at the time of its initial release and a couple of posters on this page have seen fit to heave the old harpoon at a very underrated film. Though far from an expert on Scott Fitzgerald I have a strong feeling that he was around forty when he died and Gregory peck was forty three when he portrayed him so realistically that's about right; Deborah Kerr was thirty eight so that's also more or less realistic. By all accounts Fitzgerald retained a certain youthful charm even in alcoholic middle age and if you're looking for an actor who can do charm with one hand behind his back without resorting to the gauche bashfulness of a Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper then Peck is definitely your man especially if, as here, he's also required to brush the charm away as if swatting a fly and reveal the cruel and brutal streak beneath the surface. I've always had a problem with Deborah Kerr as a sex object, even in From Here To Eternity she didn't really convince me, I always found her far more believable as the repressed spinster of the kind she played so well in Separate Tables. The upshot was that I came to this as a great admirer of both Peck and Fitzgerald and someone prepared to tolerate Kerr. Perhaps because I was familiar with many of the situations - not least the episode which Budd Schulberg has written about so memorably both in his roman a clef The Disenchanted and in his own recollections of the time he and Fitzgerald left Los Angeles by train bound for New Hampshire where they had been engaged as co-writers on Winter Carnival; completely unaware of Fitzgerald's status as on-the-wagon Schulberg broke open a parting gift of champagne and shared it with Scott with hilarious/disastrous results depending on your point of view - and enjoy nothing more than movies about movie-making I enjoyed virtually every frame of this and found the moment at the very end when Scott is working away on The Last Tycoon and Sheilah is reading in the background and suddenly, magically, they both look up and smile a tender, lovers-only smile, resume what they are doing and then, seconds later, Scott slumps forward and is dead before his head hits the desk one of the most moving moments I've ever experienced in a cinema. I'd certainly add this to my DVD collection.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Poor Zelda. Pity their poor daughter as well. With parents such as F.
Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, what was to happen to this young lady?
Gregory Peck was weak in the opening scenes. I love the way he pronounced Sheila,stressing the second part of her name. His voice sounded so different for this film. It is when he is drunk in the film, he is at his absolute best. He is truly believable when he allows liquor to insult and almost end his tempestuous relationship with Kerr.
We're dealing basically with 2 very insecure people. Sheila Graham, coming from a very poor background, acted like a prima dona in comparison. Fitzgerald could not deal with disappointment and failure.
Eddie Albert's role is also complex here. For one, he acts by giving advice similar to his Burt McGuire in 1955's "I'll Cry Tomorrow." Yet, in the following scene, he wants Kerr to get a detective to stop Peck's apparent harassment. Interesting that Peck and Albert had appeared together in 1953's "Roman Holiday," and that Kerr was married to Philip Ober in 1953's "From Here to Eternity." He played Kerr's editor here.
I loved the beach scene in this film when Kerr literally lets her hair down and confesses to Peck regarding her humble beginnings. As they stretched out on the beach, I thought we'd have a replay of "From Here to Eternity." Debbie, you loved the beach, didn't you?
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.
Henry King is a master of making a storybook love movie;but when it comes to biography,(with the exception of "the song of Bernadette" which owed a lot to Jennifer Jones)his art becomes ineffective:in spite of two great actors,nothing works here.The scene on the beach where Kerr tells everything ,warts and all, turns up at the most awkward moment:why does she feel compelled to tell the whole truth when things are working so fine for her?Besides,Gregory Peck is much too famous and too "straight" to portray FSF successfully,we never forget he is Gregory Peck:he's so handsome it's impossible to believe he is an out-and-out alcoholic. Oddly,King's swansong the following year was a FS Fitzgerald adaptation, "tender is the night' but Jones had become too old for the part and it was a disappointment.
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