The Best of Everything (1959) Poster

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7/10
Plush Fluff
jaxla12 June 2005
This working girls go to hell soap is a time capsule candidate, courtesy of its immaculate physical production, 50s costuming (look at all those bows and pearls), creamy Johnny Mathis theme song and oh-so daring (for its time) sexual attitudes. Rona Jaffe's novel, on which the film was based, keeps on being republished, and just a few years ago Vanity Fair actually devoted an article to this delectable bon bon of a movie. Take a look at the new DVD transfer and you'll know why.

The three leads - Hope Lange, Diane Baker and Suzy Parker - echo the girls from "How to Marry A Millonaire" or Carrie Bradshaw and her friends from "Sex and the City." "Gentlewomen songsters off on a spree..." Their romantic adventures and sexual entanglements are the stuff of paperback passion: empty caramel corn calories, devoid of nutrition, impossible to resist snacking on. Lange is genuinely touching in her neo-Grace Kelly way, Baker is properly dim and idealistic as a timid virgin who gets (gasp) knocked up by a (hiss) cad. It helps that the cad is played by Robert Evans, the throaty voiced, coke snorting film mogul who surely has lead many an innocent young lamb to the slaughter in his Beverly Hills bedroom.

Suzy Parker is fascinating in the first half of the film, all blithe self assurance and knowing remarks. She struts her stuff with the panache of the fashion icon she was in the 50s. Alas, she's not up to where the film sends her: into madness and obsession. But she exudes glamour and savior faire and her acting is at least adequate. One wonders why the critics loathed her, virtually driving her out of movies a few years later. Perhaps an aloof attitude on the part of a good looking woman is just too much to bear. It sank Ali McGraw's career a generation later, and, when you think of it, Ali McGraw and Suzy Parker were basically the same actress.

The film's only major flaw is a weak ending. It pretty much collapses into a romantic swoon at the end, rather than rising to a wham bang melodramatic finish, like the other famous soap opera from producer Jerry Wald, "Peyton Place," which had Lana Turner weeping and gnashing her teeth during a rape trial. Here, Hope Lange wanders out onto the New York sidewalk, spots burly, eternally hung over (but now, of course, sober) Stephen Boyd and they simply walk off together...into the sunset, one presumes. Otherwise, this is pretty much the definition of a guilty pleasure.

Oh Yes...there's also Joan Crawford, breathing fire at all the young girls and smoking cigarettes while she hisses to her married lover over the phone. And the titles are done in hot pink, with ribbon lettering that recalls the department store ads of the late 50s. Don't miss!
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7/10
"The Women" with the men this time
schappe127 February 2006
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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7/10
What Is Best For Everyone?
bkoganbing14 January 2007
The Best of Everything is a high gloss large screen soap opera which follows the careers of four career women, Hope Lange, Suzy Parker, Diane Baker, and Martha Hyer at a New York publishing firm. What's the best for some women is not necessarily the best for all.

Presiding over this group of young fillies is wise old mare Joan Crawford who's been around the track a few times on screen and in real life. She looks right at home as the boss lady as well she should have at this point.

Around the time she was making The Best of Everything Joan Crawford became a widow when her fourth husband, Alfred Steele died. It was a particularly traumatic event for her, she woke up one morning and found him dead in bed next to her. She inherited all of his stock in Pepsi Cola where he was the board chairman and during the same period as The Best of Everything was being made, she wound up the queen bee at Pepsi Cola. Life does sometimes imitate art. So that authority as she barks out dictation and coffee orders to Hope Lange rings real true.

In fact all the women here with the exception of Lange are in for some rough sledding. It's rough for Lange too, but she literally makes the best of everything.

What a collection of stinkers the men are in this film. The best of them, Stephen Boyd, is a heavy drinker. The others Louis Jourdan, Robert Evans, and Brett Halsey, are as slimy a collection of rodents as ever gathered for one film.

I can't forget Brian Aherne either who's the fanny pinching head of this publishing firm. Half that office would have sexual harassment suits going today.

Some nice location shots of New York in the fifties make the film a real treat. Catch it by all means.
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9/10
Excellent Film!
km_creations28 March 2003
I feel very strongly that this film was just like Waiting to Exhale with white females in the 1950's. As in Waiting to Exhale, all of the female characters got mixed up with men who were either married or no good. The only difference, besides the obvious, was that there wasn't much humor in this film. I would even say that it was tragic. Only one of the male characters seemed to be kind and sincere (Hope Lange's guy), but even then there was conflict in this relationship.

The story was about three young women who shared an apartment together and who had hopes and dreams of success. Unfortunately for them, romance didn't seem to come easy although they were young, intelligent and attractive. This movie could be called a tearjerker with the saddest part involving Suzy Parker's character whose obsession of an ex-boyfriend leads to tragedy.

This is a must see.
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10/10
A perennial favorite that is always enjoyable to view.
ericglasby31 January 2005
I first saw this film in 1959 at the Hoyts Double Bay cinema in Sydney when fifteen years old. I loved it then and still do. The ensemble cast is great - in those days the actors acted "naturally" and you "felt" for them in the respective roles. A "glossy" film of the period -the relationships therein still relevant to today's world but now the sexes are on the same level, women would not or should not allow the type of treatment displayed in the past. The soundtrack music is wonderful and it is a delight that Film Score Monthly released the CD in January, 2005. Pity scenes were cut prior to release - even at two hours you want more! I have registered with Amazon for the DVD (they do now have a special page). To view this film in CinemaScope after forty six years of pan and scan will be great. Twentieth Century Fox, please look further into your catalogers of fifties CinemaScope productions for DVD - there IS a large market out there. I await arrival from US of March, 2004 Vanity Fair Special article on the film, which is said to be fifteen pages with many photos on set. Cheers.
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7/10
Very enjoyable and well-produced "trash"
MartinHafer12 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film that is far more enjoyable than its rating of 7 would suggest. In many ways, it's like a 50s version of VALLEY OF THE DOLLS--with much of the excesses and sleaziness of VALLEY polished up a bit for the audiences of 1959. Like this later film, both are about three young ladies who are on the fast-track to success--though this time it's in the publishing world instead of the entertainment industry (though one of the ladies in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING does have aspirations of Broadway).

The film begins with Hope Lange coming into the company for her first day of work. She's assigned to tough-as-nails boss, Joan Crawford, who is appearing in her first supporting role in decades. Despite how nasty Crawford seems, Lange is determined not to give in--to make it in this job. And, over time, she quickly moves up the ranks from secretary to editor. At the same time, her two new roommates also try to move up the ranks--one through the stage and one through a relationship with a rich playboy. Like VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, all of them have their ups and downs (mostly downs) but by the end of the film there is some hope that at least some of them will make it--battered and bruised, nevertheless.

In this film, men are mostly pigs. The only guy who seems decent is played by Stephen Boyd, so naturally Hope Lange neglects him for a ne'er do well ex-boyfriend. As for the guys played by veteran character actor Brian Ahern and the rest, they are sexist scum and eventually you understand how Crawford became so bitter and nasty.

This film has it all--adultery, premarital sex, abortion, etc. and is certainly NOT an artistic triumph. However, thanks to excellent production values and a juicy script, this one is a joy to watch. Just don't expect Shakespeare!!
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People still the same, decades later
ebert_jr30 May 2003
More equality today, much more, but overall nothing has changed. All the sad, tawdry, pathetic, moving and bitter moments between women and men in the office is just as it is today, less the blatant sexual harassment. Love looking at old pics of nyc and looking in store windows....things seem surprisingly familiar and not dated.
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A Hedonistic, Though Flawed, Delight
mmitsos10 June 2003
I am still trying to figure out why I like this film (and so many like it), when in truth, the submissiveness of females and their dependence on the love of a man really sickens me. The depiction of women in this film is perhaps a bit more progressive than that in other films of this genre, as the women are, at least, career women, and much of the story is set in the office. However, among the three key friends (Hope Lange, Suzy Parker, and Diane Baker), Lange's character Caroline Bender is the only one determined to be an editor. However, at the same time, when her colleague Mike Rice (Stephen Boyd) asks her if she has any ambitions beyond working a year or so, she quite adamantly says "no..none at all"...so, it's a bit contradictory, and frustrating. And he, of course, says it's "wonderful" when she agrees with him that it would be quite satisfying for her to "get her feet wet in publishing for a year or two to prove what she has "to prove", marry a doctor or lawyer, and have babies".

Some of the dialog is beyond hope, but I inexplicably continue to watch this film, every so often. Maybe it's the women's clothing...I love suits, and I miss dressing up for work. (Business casual has been one of several downfalls of today's workplace, as far as I'm concerned. Even though I'm a die-hard liberal, I definitely appreciate and enjoy conservative dress). No, but really...perhaps it is because I want to see if at least one of these women wakes up and takes stock in her own life, and throws back all of the crap that her "sweetheart" dishes out at her. Hope Lange does so to a degree when she rhetorically asks her slime-bucket hometown beau Eddie "what is it about men that they think they deserve the most refined, cultured, "respectable" women from the "best schools and the best families" only "part-time", for only fun, but ignore all of the attendant responsibilities that would turn frolic into long-term, serious relationships. She then goes on to say that a number of women will play the same game as men, for a while, but eventually, they'll have to pick up a few extra men of their own, to fill in the time when they're not with the one they really want. I guess she's talking about today's "casual dating" and "hooking up". Having spent some time lately with various dating services, I've run into more slime-buckets during the past year than I have in my entire life. Again, even though politically I'm quite liberal, my own social mores lean far more to those of a "Rules Girl". So, this piece of dialog resonated with me at this time in my life.

The opening credits are very nice...Manhattan in the spring/summertime is always glorious. Though I need to laugh that it's Johnny Mathis singing the title song, "The Best of Everything" (I've always thought that he was a very funny singer...he often breaks what should be long-held notes with silence...perhaps he's breathing, but we don't hear him inhale), it's also perfect....who else would be singing this song for a 1950's movie about finding your way in life and in love.

Joan Crawford's boss is in many ways no different from some of the tyrannical maniacs I've worked for today, no joke. Joan Crawford's Amanda Farrow was more or less a direct, no holds barred, right-in-your face bitch, telling Hope Lange that she does not have what it takes to become a Reader, much less an Editor. And, she did it in front of the rest of the typing pool (how unprofessional is that?). In the 80's, people stabbed you in the back. In the 90's, and to a degree, now, people smile at you directly, and let you believe all is well, until you're laid off in one surprising second.

I found it inconsistent how the Suzy Parker character started out as an independent, career-minded, aspiring actress, who prided herself on never having needed a man ("to love, and to let go...that's me"), but ended up becoming the most debilitated by the rejection of a man with whom she had fallen in love. And of course, it's also amazing how Diane Baker, fresh from being thrown out of a speeding car and losing a baby (out of wedlock, no less, in the 1950's!) manages to attract the attention and heart of a young, studly doctor when she's still wearing bandages and no make-up in her hospital bed. Wonders never cease in a 1950's melodrama!

If you hedonistically enjoy "Valley of the Dolls", or "Written on the Wind", you'll love "The Best of Everything".
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7/10
an underrated film
wjohnson92522 February 2003
A classic late 50's film. The superannuated headliners (Joan Crawford and Louis Jordan) are not at their best, but the direction, cinematography, and acting of the younger cast are compelling. In a 50's sense (which I love).

The look and feel of the artsy (over-artsy?) contemporary film "Far from heaven" reflects exactly this sort of film (and I suspect this film may be one of the models). A silly plot, of course (hey, it's 1959!), but as a film-- glorious! As a reflection of the society, extremely interesting. And as witness to how Hollywood breaks away from the idealistic portrayal of American sexual mores, fascinating.
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10/10
The BEST of Everything
katibee8225 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
If this is not my favorite movie of all time, it definitely is in the top five. I love this. Everything about this is perfect--the clothes, the set, the lines--yes, they're not how normal people talk, but... Right down to the small scenes, especially at the beginning of the office girls changing their shoes, picking a wedgie, watering the office ivy plant, putting lunch in the fridge... Identical to what us office girls do today in the year 2005. I think all the minor characters are wonderful. If someone like Joan Crawford is over the top, it's all part of the package. If you pick out many things in the movie, it is very evident that this was the beginning of the sixties as women were starting to not "take it lying down," at least not if they didn't want to. As far as characters being contradictory, for instance, Suzy Parker's character acting like she's all for flings, but then getting too attached to Louis Jourdan's character, isn't that what many people are like--contradictory? They mix in real stuff with scenes like Diane Baker's character finding the love of her life after miscarrying her illegitimate baby in an accident--lying in the hospital with a big old bandage around her head. This is part of the package too, it's charm--glossy escapism. I like the mix of real stories pertinent today (the stereotypical career woman who only has affairs with married men, therefore doesn't have a family when she is older) with ones that make you wish, "ah, if only I could fall in love with a doctor and he'll love me even though he knows my sordid past, and saw me all messed up after the scandalous accident!!" Also, I just got the DVD, widescreen, it's yet even more beautiful than full screen... Yay!
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7/10
Best Of Drama
DKosty12311 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If your a fan of drama, this movie is for you. Hope Lange stars as Miss Bender, a young woman on the way up out of college after the editor job held by Joan Crawford. The setting is New York Ctity.

The project is romance. The industry is office, publishing office. There are several women in this cast who are not well known but who hold their own quite nicely. This 1959 era is sort of out of date with what was coming in the 1960's.

This is the rare film that features Stephen Boyd the same year he was doing Ben Hur which won a lot of Oscars this year and Louis Jourdan as powerful men who are after the women in the cast. The best of everything which is the songs title tune, seems to be that these women, within limits, can get everything they want.

Being the 1950's, they seem to want love and marriage. Lange's character, Miss Bender, wants a career too. That is a little different for a 1959 setting. That might be the main difference in this film from most films of this period.

If you like drama, New York City in the 1950's, or are a fan of Boyd, Jourdan or Hope Lang, this movie is for you. If you like romantic drama, this is your film too. While not a big classic, at least it is a film that tells a story, though a bit outdated today. Its sets look at lot like AMC's Mad Men done years later. In fact, it is story wise.
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8/10
Good, of its kind
Boyo-220 August 2002
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.
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8/10
Pink opening credits in Cinemascope
trig610 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I watched the first few moments on TCM a few years ago but stopped after about 15 minutes. I saw it listed on the schedule at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto, and I vowed I would make the 40 minute drive. The Stanford is an old fashioned movie house that starts each movie with the curtains still shut Yes, they have curtains. They opened as the Fox logo fanfare began to play. When "The Best of Everything" appeared in huge pink letters spread against the New York City skyline, I knew I was right for waiting.

I lapped this movie up. There were so many little moments that added to the look and feel of the movie: When Hope Lange walks into the publishing office for the first time, the titles of the magazines published there are etched on the glass (The Teenager and Elegance); Joan Crawford's swanky apron that she wore so she could serve her guests at her party without mussing her outfit; the way the camera tilted to indicate how crazy Suzy Parker was becoming (it was almost sideways at one point); how Hope Lange kept living at that dumpy flat she shared with the others even though she obviously was making a lot more money than at the beginning of the film (guess it was too scandalous for a single gal to live alone).

Hope Lange was so beautiful; so was Suzy Parker. And how about Mark Goddard in a non-speaking role. I fell in love with him when I was a kid watching Lost in Space.

Seeing this gem on the big screen prompted me to plan another trek down to the Stanford to see The Old Dark House. Incidentally, I bought a small soda and popcorn at the concession stand, and I was taken aback when the worker asked me for two bucks.
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7/10
It's All About the Men!
tex-426 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
The Best of Everything is a fun, if slightly campy time capsule in which to view the working women of 1959. The storyline follows three women working for a publishing company, and their desire to find love and get married. The leader of this troika is Caroline Bender (Lange), who has landed work as a typist and then finds her fiancée has dumped her for another girl. She works with Gregg Adams (Parker), a beautiful aspiring actress who is deeply insecure and April Morrison (Baker), the naive bumpkin from Colorado. Each woman faces a different challenge during the film. Morrison hooks up with a well to do guy named Dexter, but finds what a sleaze he is when she gets pregnant. Gregg falls in love with a stage director, who returns her affections for a time, but then dumps her, leading to Gregg suffering what can only be described as a psychotic break. Also along for the ride is Amanda Farrow, an editor at the publishing house who has a "take no prisoners" style, a lecherous editor named Mr. Shalimar and the office drunk, Mike Rice.

The absolute best things about this movie are the costumes and set design, along with the gorgeous scenes filmed in late 1950s Manhattan. The story itself is highly melodramatic and each of the girls seems to lose touch with reality at some point during their respective story lines, whether it be Caroline's ridiculously fast job promotions, Gregg's misadventure by high heel, or April inadvertently using a moving car as a way to land herself a new boyfriend. Joan Crawford is a supporting player here, but she makes one heck of an impression with the limited screen time she gets.

This is definitely a good movie. Obviously, the element that these women only think they can find fulfillment by being married to a man is a dated concept, along with the boss who can't stop pinching his female employees, but the performances of nearly all the actors really do shine. And I cannot really overstate just how beautiful the sets and costumes are here. It's an experience not to be missed!
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What Women's Lib was all about!
kmk-312 October 2001
Meant to be a glossy romance and cautionary tale for girls who dare to think of working Outside The Home, "The Best of Everything" instead is a virtual primer of the root causes of the modern Women's movement: Women (really, girls) can have jobs, but only until they find a man and leave to begin their real lives as homemakers; women are sexual toys, provided to men at work for their amusement; all men are predators and all women are fools; pregnancy is entirely the woman's fault; women who take their jobs seriously are damaged people; women merely exist for the use of men. Sounds like an unremitting screed, and it is -- yet, such is Hollywood's power, the pageant is very watchable (the clothes, the sentimental views of 1959 NYC) and beautiful. A wonderful snapshot of America just a couple of years before "The Feminine Mystique" was published. Must-see for women.
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10/10
Best of Everything- It Was the Worst of Times for these Gals ****
edwagreen11 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Terrific film dealing with life in a big book company. Everyone is playing around. The head of the typing pool claims that she doesn't know anything, but is quick on the trigger when it comes to spreading gossip.

Men come off in this film as two-timing heels. The once exception is Stephen Boyd, this slick guy is really earnest.

Suzy Parker's tragic character is most interesting. A very insecure woman, she almost adopts a fatal attraction attitude towards the callous Louis Jordan, and tragedy ensues.

Joan Crawford, as an editor, had her best role, a supporting one, in years. As Amanda, she defines the term bitchy in many new ways. She gets what she deserves when she sees that her lover can't be satisfied with his needs by her.

Hope Lange and Diane Baker round out a multi-talented cast. From out of New York, they also fall victim to unbelievable slick guys, who are ready to ditch them at a moment's notice.

Life in the large offices and girls who have been two-timed by men will enjoy this film. It's really quite well done. That title song, sung by Johnny Mathis, deserved Oscar consideration. It's writer won the Oscar that year, but for the song "High Hopes," from "A Hole in the Head."
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5/10
The worst of everything...riddled with clichés...
Doylenf26 August 2006
I'm sure Rona Jaffe's book examined the lives of working girls a little more seriously and with better intent than THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, which is about as cliché-ridden with ripe dialog as any film in memory, perhaps eclipsed only by VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

On the plus side, there are ravishing shots of bustling New York City in the heart of mid-town Manhattan and the credits open with Johnny Mathis singing "Love Is The Best Of Everything." That's as good as it gets.

The story of four office girls considering whether to choose career over marriage (while being stalked by men with raging hormones) is the same old tripe we've seen dozens of times, usually with more finesse. All of the men--STEPHEN BOYD, BRIAN AHERNE, LOUIS JOURDAN and ROBERT EVANS--are depicted as scoundrels just a few steps better than Jack the Ripper or the infamous Don Juan--treating the girls in the typing pool as though they are part of a harem.

The girls are the usual blend of disparate types--with SUZY PARKER, HOPE LANGE, and DIANE BAKER being the most conspicuous in having to deal with unscrupulous beaus. And for good measure, we have JOAN CRAWFORD as the female boss from hell in what is little more than a cameo role. Crawford makes the most of it.

And so it goes. It's soap-opera, plain and simple, '50s style, but nowhere as accomplished as some of the other pulp fiction of the period that made it to the big screen. Watch at your own risk.
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7/10
Sex and the City - 1950's style.
MOscarbradley5 June 2008
A hugely enjoyable screen version of Rona Jaffe's best-selling pot-boiler about the trials and tribulations, (and, naturally, the loves), of a group of women involved in one way or another in the New York publishing business. Directed by Jean Negulesco, fairly fresh from the success of "Three Coins in a Fountain", and the prototype for the likes of "Sex and the City", except that here the sex all takes place off-screen.

The bright young female talents of the day, (Hope Lange, Diane Baker, Suzy Parker, Martha Hyer), are all nicely cast while Joan Crawford pops up as a Queen Bitch of an editor who could probably eat Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly and spit her out; with absolutely no effort at all she steals the movie. The men include Stephen Boyd, Louis Jourdan, (if it wasn't Rossano Brazzi it had to be Louis Jourdan), Robert Evans, (before he decided, wisely, to go behind the camera) and Brian Aherne. There are more suds on display than you will find in your average launderette but if, like me, you enjoy "Desperate Housewives", not to mention Carrie Bradshaw and company then you will probably love this. A very guilty pleasure.
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Great costumes but an anti-woman tirade
veronicadellagissi5 November 2001
Can a woman have the "best of everything?" Only if she's a doormat for a man ... work, ambition, success mean nothing if she ain't Suzy Homemaker at the end of the day. In fact being a "career woman" can be detrimental to your health, both physical and mental. The scene where Suzy Parker apologizes to Louis Jordan for discovering his cheating on her makes me retch. I always like this movie but see it as a warning shot fired across the bow of the emerging (at the time) feminist movement.
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7/10
The best and then some!!
eforza91512 December 2005
Although dated, this film is definitely worth a watch. I saw it about eight times as a teenager when it opened and it changed my life...I just HAD to live in New York. It has great opening shots of the Manhattan skyline with Johnny Mathis crooning "Romance is still...the best of everything..." that rival those of West Side Story. There is a rather stilted performance by the world's REAL first Supermodel, Suzy Parker (sorry about that, Janice D.), but it's great eye-candy! It also offers a bit of insight into late 1950's American mores--our obsession with (and repression of) sex (in the workplace, no less!), romance, and marriage before women's lib. It represents an era in which New York was at it's finest and a super-bitchy performance by Joan Crawford is just the icing on the cake.
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5/10
Best of Everything - only the average for most
movieman-20012 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Jean Negulesco's "The Best of Everything" is a curiosity of sorts. It headlines the names of Joan Crawford (Amanda Farrow) and Louis Jourdan (David Savage) even though neither star appears in anything but brief cameo. Clearly, this is Fox's cheap attempt to use 'big' names – that at this point in their respective careers, were not quite so 'big' anymore – to tell the rather generic story of four girls working in a typing pool at Fabian's Publishing Company. Caroline Bender (Hope Lange) wants a career. Her role model is Amanda. Gregg Adams (Suzy Parker) is biding her time. Her heart is set on the stage. Barbara Lemont (Martha Hyer) is working because she's divorced with a child. But she hasn't given up on love all together. April Morrison (Diane Baker) the good time gal gets the short end of the stick – no pun intended. She gets pregnant.

Into this mix comes corporate exec', Mr. Shalimar (Brian Aherne) to whom today's bevy of steno-pool lovelies would have a class action sexual harassment lawsuit pending. The story only gets more conventional from here, with alcoholism, death and an abortion filling the rest of the screen time with melancholy melodrama that is largely forgettable. The screenplay is infamous for its clichéd sexual politics, tossing about one liners like, "Find yourself another man...I'm throwing you out...and leave the key" or "I had the ideal husband...too bad he wasn't mine" flippantly eschewing changing attitudes in the battle of the sexes. Oh yes, before I forget, Stephen Boyd is completely wasted as Mike Rice – a rich man whose intentions are only sometimes honorable.

In keeping with Fox's very strange way of picking films that the studio deems worthy of inclusion into their Studio Line Classic Series – "The Best of Everything" doesn't really live up to either that status or its own title. If you will recall, Fox also chose "Return to Peyton Place" – a terrible little nothing of a sequel to "Peyton Place" as a Studio Series entrée, while excluding such titles as "Hello Dolly" or "Call Me Madame" from that roster – and even more to the point – while titles like "In Old Chicago", "The Dolly Sisters" and "Wilson" remain absent from the currency of our digital format.

However, "The Best of Everything" does come with a rather impressive anamorphic transfer. Colors are rich, bold and vibrant. After years of viewing various discolored incarnations on VHS and television, seeing this film again is rather like a completely new experience. Fine details are nicely realized. Contrast levels are solid. A minimal amount of grain and fading is detected. The audio is stereo, if decidedly dated. An audio commentary is the only extra. Forgivable, considering there's not much here to recommend a deluxe handling.
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It's all nice, but Joan hits it out of the park.
Poseidon-330 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The loves and tragedies of three young ladies in the big city are observed in this slick, beautifully produced film. A major publishing firm in The Big Apple serves as the backdrop for all of the goings on. Lange is a girl who takes a job as a typist while her fiancée (Halsey) is overseas for a year. Parker plays a another typist, desperately in search of success as an actress. Baker (also a typist!) is a rather naïve, but eager bumpkin, getting her first taste of independence. Also featured is Crawford as an impossibly severe and bitter book editor who makes Lange's work life an ordeal. Lange finds herself torn in all directions, unable to choose between a career or traditional married life and also torn between Halsey and handsome editor Boyd. Parker finally finds success in the theatre, but falls for suave director Jourdan, much to her own personal detriment. Baker dodges the octopus-like Editor-in-Chief Aherne, but winds up with cavalier playboy Evans, who can't give her the meaningful relationship she craves. Crawford runs roughshod over all of them until she sees a chance for happiness of her own. A fifth story, involving editors Hyer and Harron, was all but dropped from the final cut, leaving only a few awkward moments of longing and recrimination between them. The film is a fascinating glimpse into the social mores of the time. The source novel by Rona Jaffe was a rather eye-opening account of young females in and out of the workplace. Though it isn't completely faithful to the book, the film affords a few juicy episodes and wallows in the type of cinematic beauty (gorgeous clothes, impressive sets and décor, strong music) that director Negulesco came to specialize in with his many films of this ilk (including "How to Marry a Millionaire" and "Three Coins in a Fountain".) Now obsolete rituals of the workplace are demonstrated vividly. Lange does well in the central role and looks lovely throughout. It's a little unsettling to see Parker (pregnant at the time of filming) go from a confident, attractive woman to a dejected and highly troubled mess. Baker adds a level of freshness and girlishness amongst the more sophisticated other performers. Boyd, Halsey, Aherne and Evans are more "types" than characters, though Boyd manages to inject some appeal into his heavy drinking character and Aherne actually makes a loathsome, sexually predatory character fairly engaging for a lot of his screen time. Crawford, however, easily walks off with the film. Every moment she is on screen, she commands full attention and is given some hysterically rude and curt lines to deliver. She took the film to help pay some debts and to reignite her film career after the death of her husband. Sadly, one of her most lauded scenes wound up on the cutting room floor of this lengthy soap opera, but a few frames from it can be seen in the trailer on the DVD. Third-billed Hyer's storyline really ought never to have been included as it only serves, at least in the final form, to distract momentarily from the primary stories. The canvas was just too full to support all the threads going on. Rarely believable, but always watchable, this gloriously photographed movie serves up a combination time capsule/fantasy world of life in NYC prior to the 60's. Johnny Mathis sings the rather difficult title song beautifully.
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gloriously trashy
didi-516 July 2001
All the cliches rolled together, and then some, as we watch three secretaries through their tangled work and love lives in a New York publishing house. Some of the script is risible and the whole idea is so dated, but after a while you just feel yourself pulled into it. Its over-the-top, its trash, it tries so hard to get every subplot possible that might shock in without actually shocking anyone (this is the clean-cut 50s after all). Doesn't give a marvellous message to young singletons, but for those who like their screen romance sticky-sweet and covered with marshmallows, this is the one for you. Everyone does a good job despite the trash involved, and this remains a slight but very entertaining film.
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7/10
Great ideas with some iffy execution
shaykelliher29 August 2018
"The Best of Everything" is a film I had never even heard of until the day I watched it, which honestly is kind of a shame. This is a really solid movie which is held back by some certain problems.

The three different stories that effect the three main characters of the film are all incredibly interesting in their own rights, and are all grounds for amazing films on their own. However the film is doing a constant juggling act with these three stories and thus the tone of the film is all over the place. In one scene it's a haunting psychological horror with an interesting use of camera angles and shadow, the next it's a melodrama about a careless lover and after that it's a cosy office comedy. It's a bit jarring at times, all the scenes work on their own but when they're put together it has some less-than-excellent results.

Other than that this is a really good movie with a knockout cast. It's just the tonal problems that stop it from being something really special.
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7/10
NYC Never Looked Better
daoldiges29 May 2018
If there's one thing this film does well, its capturing the appeal and allure of New York City. This is a fun time-capsule of a film from this period and it beautifully captures some truly iconic images of midtown Manhattan, and a couple other shots of the city. The beautifully stylized representation of office life, the cloths and apartments of NYC explains why these girls along with millions of others like them dreamed of coming to New York City to achieve their dreams - be it a dream job as a successful executive or a rich husband. As for the story itself, it is a bit cliched and is filled with some stereotypes. Despite some issues I think this film is great fun and worth checking out.
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