LIKE MUNCHING ON SALT & PEPPER CHIPS

Back in 2003, Entertainment Weekly named The Best of Everything as one of the Top 50 Cult Films of All Time. Well, in any case, it’s tasty sexist trash with a bang up cast trying to pull off one low after another: Joan Crawford, Hope Lange, Brian Aherne, Diane Baker, Suzy Parker, Martha Hyer, and, Vitalis’d to the max, Stephen Boyd, Louis Jourdan, Brett Halsey and Robert Evans who, quipped a critic some years ago, “gives good sleaze.” Someone must have decided that Lange needed to look like Grace Kelly; the closest she gets is Vera Miles. Hyer’s role feels sliced because it is; previews indicated audiences didn’t go for her brand of adultery with the nongreaser Donald Harron. Crawford’s is gutted as well and that’s too bad: as a seasoned bitch she brings star power and some good laughs, especially her phone conversation with her married lover. (One of the cuts is her drunk scene.) The indelibly American beauty Suzy—whose gliding frame was the hanger every designer would kill for, and whose tongue-in-cheek frolic in front of a still photographer made her justly famous—goes unconvincingly warpy for slimebag Jourdan. Suzy providing maid service to Joanie, or rummaging through garbage and stuffing used hose into her coat pocket? Not with that face, behind which was a sharp, outspoken mind as the inspiration for Audrey’s Funny Face. (A relatively short acting career, Suzy’s one decent work is with Gary Cooper in Ten North Frederick.) Forerunners to Sex and the City, Rona Jaffe’s novel and this movie were immensely popular among late 50s and early 60s high school and college skirts who would dream of working in the big city, in this case New York, hoping to get coveted entry positions in the glass jungles of book publishing, ad agencies and insurance companies as entrée to romance. Mathis sings the Oscar-nominated title song, with Sammy Cahn lyrics like “You found the moon and the sun, yes, he’s the one it seems, but soon it’s done and not the fun it seems,” in an irreproducible style. (Dominic Frontiere borrows Alfred Newman’s theme for a Monte Carlo casino sequence in 1960’s Seven Thieves.) Directed by Jean Negulesco; Jerry Wald producer.

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Text COPYRIGHT © 2001 RALPH BENNER  (Revised 2/2014) All Rights Reserved.