Domineering Harriet Craig holds more regard for her home and its possessions than she does for any person in her life. Among those she treats like household objects are her kind husband ... See full summary »
Millicent Wetherby is a middle-aged woman whose life is devoid of love and affection. Millicent's solitary existence changes when she encounters Burt Hansen a charismatic younger man. As ... See full summary »
Jenny Stewart is a tough Broadway musical star who doesn't take criticism from anyone. Yet there is one individual, Tye Graham, a blind pianist who may be able to break through her tough ... See full summary »
Eighteen-year-old Esther has been deaf and blind since the accident which killed her mother. Wealthy Margaret Landi, a native of Esther's village in Ireland, is talked into helping to ... See full summary »
Oxford Professor Richard Myles and new bride Frances are off on a European honeymoon. It isn't your typical honeymoon though, for they are on a spying mission for British intelligence on ... See full summary »
Congresswoman Agatha Reed returns to her alma mater for homecoming, although she's more interested in renewing her romance with an old flame who's now the college president. Their attempts ... See full summary »
With her unofficial fiancé Eddie Harris studying in England for a year, Radcliffe educated Caroline Bender decides to get her first ever job as a secretary at Manhattan located Fabian Publishing, which offers its employees "the best of everything". There, she finds her story is somewhat similar to all the other secretaries, who are biding their time in the secretarial pool either before getting married - to a current or future beau - or moving on to their dream job. In the latter category is aspiring actress Gregg Adams, who with fellow secretary, the naive and inexperienced April Morrison, become Caroline's new roommates. Caroline also finds that as a secretary to the editors, she has to learn the special needs and foibles of each. They include the "witch" Amanda Farrow whose demanding exterior masks a truly lonely woman, the aging Lothario Fred Shalimar, and the understanding Mike Rice, whose best friend is a bottle of booze. The path to true happiness for each of Caroline, Gregg ... Written by
This was the first time Joan Crawford accepted a supporting role in a movie, supposedly because she found herself in debt after the death of husband Alfred Steele early in 1959. According to cast member Diane Baker, Crawford's role was cut even further before release, causing the removal of a show-stopping drunk scene by Crawford. Bits of this scene are in the trailer included on the DVD. See more »
A huge palm tree is visible during a company picnic supposedly set on an estate near New York City - a botanical impossibility. See more »
Caroline Bender (Hope Lange) is just killing time getting a job. Her real ambition is to marry Eddie and have a baby.
April (Diane Baker) is too innocent to stay that way for long and falls in love too easily, a dangerous combo.
Greg (Suzy Parker) is a go-getter and wants to be an actress.
All three are doomed for dramatics in 'The Best of Everything', a 1959 soap opera/morality play/sometimes solid movie that is aging by the second.
Set in the cut-throat world of paperback publishing, its not as trashy as "Valley of the Dolls" but not as vanilla as "Three Coins in the Fountain."
The men in the mix - Brian Aherne, Stephen Boyd, Louis Jourdan and Robert Evans - are slick, well-dressed and no good, for the most part. Aherne is the resident sexual offender - will pinch anything walking by, and makes unwanted advances right and left. His character is offensive as hell, but its not played seriously at all. Harassment hadn't been discovered yet, I guess. Boyd works there, too, although you never see him actually doing anything. He's too busy being older, wiser and drunker. Evans is abroad just so Diane Baker can suffer in style - he's a rich kid who's gotten her in 'trouble' so instead of marrying her, as promised, he's taking her to get an 'operation.'
Jourdan is a director who mistakenly has an affair with Parker. They share a fight scene which is fairly no-holds barred, in a movie like this anyway, but the scene is ultimately ruined by Parker's histronics. She ends up nearly stalking him, and she really didn't deserve such a lousy fate, her bad acting notwithstanding.
Joan Crawford breathes fire as Amanda Farrow, the resident 'witch' who is automatically rude and dismissive of any of her legion of secretaries. Well they are younger, aren't they? Isn't that sufficient reason to hate a person? Caroline doesn't think so, as she admirably stands up to Miss Farrow every chance she gets. Crawford only gets to let loose once, when she tells her married boyfriend 'you can your rabbit-faced wife can both go to hell' and slams down the phone. You never get to see the poor soul who dare crosses her.
Martha Hyer's 'storyline', as it were, is extremely weak, and she is painfully over-the-top as an unmarried mother. Short of wearing a huge "W" (for 'whore') on her cardigan, she walks around like a pathetic mess for most of her screen time. Even worse, she is not given the courtesy of having it all 'tied up', one way or the other, at the end. It won't matter that much, but still..
Its painfully obvious this all took place in a totally different world. People were nicer to one another for the most part and work was not a drag but something exciting, for a girl from outside NYC anyway.
One unconvincing drunk scene aside, Hope Lange helps it seem reasonably real as Caroline, who at least has more than one side to her character.
I admire that women are seen having an opinion, a chance and a choice. Not that its not wrapped in a nice bow, but it makes some points for equality. In 1959 that was probably noteworthy and possibly controversial. 7/10.
11 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?