Eager to land a journalistic position, Adam White goes to work as an advice-giving newspaper columnist. His editor, Shrike, takes pleasure in browbeating his alcoholic wife Florence for her... See full summary »
Eager to land a journalistic position, Adam White goes to work as an advice-giving newspaper columnist. His editor, Shrike, takes pleasure in browbeating his alcoholic wife Florence for her past adultery, and assigning his employees journalistic jobs for which they have little aptitude or interest. Shrike goads Adam into meeting one of his correspondents, Fay Doyle, a teary, self-pitying woman who makes a play for him. Adam is torn between his loyalty to the newspaper and his girl Justy. Written by
Stapleton's sizzling debut best thing in faint-hearted Lonelyhearts
Dore Schary introduced modest films noirs into MGM's technicolor pantheon, and he wrote and produced this late (1957) entry. While Nathanael West's satire was exhilaratingly brutal, just about everything about this movie seems weary and faint-hearted. Montgomery Clift, fresh from the accident which just about scuttled his career, is the cub reporter shoved into the Miss Lonelyhearts column; he's so passive and tentative -- sometimes so hard to understand -- that it's not clear whether it's method acting or the aftermath of his car smashup. Robert Ryan, usually a stalwart of these mean S.O.B. roles, delivers the lines written for the cynical editor but you have the sense he was interested only in his paycheck. Myrna Loy is trashed as Ryan's long-suffering wife, emotionally abused because of some breach of marital fidelity in the distant past. (Why doesn't she just hurl her Cinzano in his face and stalk out?) But the film starts to smoulder when Maureen Stapleton arrives (she received an Academy Award nomination for this, her debut). As Edna Doyle, frustrated wife who starts an affair with Clift, she's unforgettable without ever lurching into one-dimensional parody. She's both sympathetic and repulsive, vindictive yet confused, victim and avenger. Too bad this movie was made at a time when they thought all Nathanael West's teeth had to be pulled for public consumption; the movie vanishes with a whimper. But West is hard to film; John Schlesinger's Day of the Locust, some 20 years later, didn't do a much better job.
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