The Best of Everything [DVD] [1959]

Jean Negulesco's glossy Manhattan soap opera has arrived on DVD with a good letterboxed (2.35-to-1) image, and a clean if unexceptional (and rather low-volume) audio transfer. The movie has been treated well in that regard, with a more-than-sufficient 32 chapter markers across its two hours-and-one-minute running time. The major bonus feature is a commentary track by Sylvia Stoddard and author Rona Jaffe, who wrote the novel from which the movie was adapted. Jaffe's observations are well worth hearing (more than once), especially the way in which the novel and the screenplay evolved -- Stoddard, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have enough to say substantively about the movie and so loves to dwells on matters of decor and architecture, among other extraneous matters, about half of her commentary can be dispensed with. The other major bonus feature is a section of the contemporary Fox-Movietone newsreel covering the New York opening of the movie (which gives us a glimpse of Jaffe as she looked then, not to mention soon-to-be-former actor Robert Evans). We also get an original trailer (whose sound is mastered rather louder than that of the movie itself), and a selection of trailers from other Fox titles coming out on DVD at the time.
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Overview

Special Features

  • Commentary by author Rona Jaffe and historian Sylvia Stoddard
  • Movietone news footage (film premiere)
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Widescreen format (aspect ratio 2.35:1)
  • Audio: English stereo, English 4.0 surround, Spanish mono
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

The Best of Everything
A star-studded cast enlivens this glossy '50s soap opera, based on a novel by Rona Jaffe. The action unfolds at the Gotham-based Fabian Publishing, where numerous women work as typists under the aegis of power-wielding, shark-like editor Amanda Farrow (Joan Crawford). Farrow has achieved wealth and success, but is far from idolized by her underlings, who understand clearly that their boss has chalked up all of her accomplishments at the expense of a satisfying personal life. Caroline Bender (Hope Lange) is a recent graduate of a prestigious women's college whose sole desire in life is to marry her college sweetheart Eddie (Brett Halsey; she admits openly that she cares little for power, ambition or career advancement. She gets a job in the secretarial pool of Fabian Publishing and soon takes an apartment with some female co-workers. Caroline quickly realizes that she has a catbird seat to witness the romantic entanglements and office politics of Fabian's many female employees. Farrow is having an affair with a mysterious married man, and Caroline's roommates have tales of their own to tell: April (Diane Baker) has become pregnant by the unscrupulous Dexter (Robert Evans), who suggests she have an abortion; and Gregg (Suzy Parker) has become involved with smooth-talking Broadway director David Wilder Savage (Louis Jourdan), not the most faithful man in the world. Robert Evans's career as an actor came to an end after this film, and he later enjoyed success as a studio head at Paramount Pictures in the 1970s, supervising The Godfather, and serving as producer of such films as Chinatown and Marathon Man. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Hope Lange
    Hope Lange - Caroline Bender
  • Stephen Boyd
    Stephen Boyd - Mike
  • Suzy Parker
    Suzy Parker - Gregg
  • Martha Hyer
    Martha Hyer - Barbara
  • Diane Baker
    Diane Baker - April
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