6.6/10
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59 user 20 critic

The Best of Everything (1959)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 9 October 1959 (USA)
An expose of the lives and loves of Madison Avenue working girls and their higher ups.

Director:

Jean Negulesco

Writers:

Edith Sommer (screenplay), Mann Rubin (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Hope Lange ... Caroline Bender
Stephen Boyd ... Mike Rice
Suzy Parker ... Gregg Adams
Martha Hyer ... Barbara Lamont
Diane Baker ... April Morrison
Brian Aherne ... Fred Shalimar
Robert Evans ... Dexter Key
Brett Halsey ... Eddie Harris
Donald Harron ... Sidney Carter
Sue Carson Sue Carson ... Mary Agnes
Linda Hutchings Linda Hutchings ... Jane
Lionel Kane Lionel Kane ... Paul Landers
Ted Otis ... Dr. Ronnie Wood
Louis Jourdan ... David Savage
Joan Crawford ... Amanda Farrow
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"What is there about women like us that men hold us so cheaply!" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 October 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Best of Everything See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There's a scene where Hope Lange and Diane Baker are outside their work building, and they speak to a woman who passes by, which seems like some kind of intentional cameo. According to source novel author Rona Jaffe on the Blu Ray commentary, people had complimented her on that cameo... but it wasn't her. It was a woman who won a contest to appear briefly in the movie. See more »

Goofs

A huge palm tree is visible during a company picnic supposedly set on an estate near New York City - a botanical impossibility. See more »

Quotes

Caroline Bender: What is it about women like us that make you hold us so cheaply? Aren't we the special ones from the best homes and the best colleges? I know the world outside isn't full of rainbows and happy endings, but to you, aren't we even decent?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Atomic Recall (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Something's Gotta Give
(uncredited)
Written by Johnny Mercer
Played at the picnic
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The Women" with the men this time
27 February 2006 | by schappe1See all my reviews

Claire Booth Luce's "The Women" shows relationships with men through a woman's point of view in a play, (and 1939 film that also has Joan Crawford playing a bitch: a character who might have been Amanda Farrow 20 years before), that has no male characters. Here we see the male characters and what a bunch they are. They use women like toys and throw them away, leaving the women to suffer. Ironically, the women in "The Women", perhaps because they are all we see, are shown in a less than favorable light, alternately silly and scheming, with the only "nice" one, (Norma Shearer), growing "claws" by the end. In "The Best of Everything" we see the men for the cads they are while the women are largely innocent and vulnerable.

This is a film about women leaping from things. Diane Baker leaps from a car, (in perhaps the most absurd scene in cinema history, which is not in the book). Suzy Parker falls from a fire escape. The women in the film are leaping into the workplace, looking for success and love at the same time. Women would leap into the future and leave this type of soap opera behind in the next decade. But they would come back to it in the 80's and 90's through the novels of people like Sidney Sheldon and Judith Krantz, (although their trashier works aren't as good as this).

The best thing about this film is the way it looks. I love the glossy cinemascope films of the 50's and 60's. They look so much better than the pixel-challenged home movies we've been making since, especially in the letterboxed version we see on TV, and the DVD, with the picture so clear you could walk into it. The look of the bevy of young beauties in it is also memorable. This film probably has more beautiful women in it than any other. It has a supermodel, (Suzy Parker), a beauty queen, (Myrna Hansen, who was not Miss America 1954 as Rona Jaffe says in the DVD commentary but rather Miss USA 1953, per the IMDb: but so what), and a Playboy playmate, (June Blair, from January 1957). My vote goes to Suzy, one of the astonishing beauties of all time. Her acting here isn't as awful as people pretend: they are just reacting, as people did then, to the sight of a supermodel, (the first, really), trying to act. Nobody seemed to care how well she did. Her role, that of an apparently worldly woman who turns out to be the most vulnerable, is the most complex in the bunch and she does just fine.

The most touching thing about the film now is the age of the female leads at the time. Hope Lange was 27 when they filmed this in the spring of 1959. Diane Baker was 20. Suzy Parker was 26. Hope, who looked to be Grace Kelly's heir, never made it really big and wound up being Mrs. Muir on television and, per the IMDb, wound up living in a home with "crates for coffee tables" because she spent her money on causes she believed in before dying at age 72 in 2003. This film must have seemed a very distant and irrelevant memory to her by then. Baker, always a welcome face in 60's TV, (especially to Richard Kimble), and still active as an actress and acting coach, just turned 67. Parker found "the best of everything" with Bradford Dillman for 40 years before dying at age 70 the same year Lange did. But here they are, young, beautiful and ambitious for success and love, just like their characters.


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