“The Best of Everything,” a glossy Fox melodrama in 1959, was based on Rona Jaffe’ best-selling novel, commissioned by producer Jerry Wald and published by Simon & Schuster.
“The Best of Everything” reportedly drew on Jaffe’s experience as associate publisher at Fawcett Publications as well as the experience of close friends. It might have been titled “Career Girls,” for the melodrama centers on a quartet of young women, seeking career and romance in glamorous but cold and impersonal Manhattan.
Directed by Jean Negulesco (Oscar-nominated for the 1948 melodrama “Johnny Belinda”), the film has an all-star cast, headed by Joan Crawford, as the boss, and Hope Lange, Suzy Parker, Martha Hyer, Diane Baker as girls. Among the male supporting roles were Stephen Boyd, Brian Aherne, Louis Jordan, and Robert Evans.
Boyd, who that year, could also be seen in “Ben-Hur,” played the hunky hero, and Robert Evans, who would become head of Paramount in the 1960s and 1970s, is smacked across the face for being a heel in a trashy yet enjoyable scene that people still talk about.
The film is replete with campy scenes and memorable lines, such as “I had the ideal husbandtoo bad he wasn’t mine. Borderline trash, it’ the kind of stories that’s now appropriated by TV, but in the 1950s, Hollywood was still making them.
The picture was nominated for two Oscars: Song, “The Best of Everything,” music by Alfred Newman, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, and Color Costume Design by Adele Palmer her only nomination). The winner, however, was Elizabeth Haffenden for “Ben-Hur.”
The song became very popular through Johnny Mathis’ rendition. Multiple Oscar-winner Newman lost, but partner Cahn won, for another popular song he wrote that year, “High Hopes,” from “A Hole in the Head,” with music by James Van Heusen, sung by Frank Sinatra.