Nathanael West's tale of a young, somewhat naive newspaper writer, who doesn't quite know how to deal with his own altruism, (and is therefore abused by his cynical and cruel boss) has been filmed before, most notably in 1958. That version is excellent as well. Robert Ryan, Montgomery Clift, and Myrna Loy are superb. But this 1983 TV version, part of the first season offering of PBS' 'American Playhouse' series, is just as effective in its own right. A young Eric Roberts, bemused and bespectacled, is the victim of his own naivete and idealism; Arthur Hill, as his boss, the editor Shrike, is nothing short of brilliant. His mocking, cynical, and sarcastic portrayal of the newspaper editor is chilling and unsettling; a more cruel character has seldom been portrayed on film. Another reason this version succeeds is its length. As written by West, 'Miss Lonelyhearts' is really a novella, though it accomplishes a great deal of sober storytelling. At only 56 minutes, so does this film, bringing the viewer West's troubling vision of human nature: the emptiness, hopelessness and despair of the readers who write to 'Lonelyhearts', in the real hope the answers can actually help. A disquieting and uneasy vision of urban middle America in the 1920s, but well-drawn, and with great performances. Veteran character actors John Ryan and Vincent Schiavelli lend their talents in supporting roles. It doesn't appear as if this film is available on video, but if you can catch it on your local PBS station, don't miss it.