American Dream, An (aka See You in Hell, Darling) (1966):

Adapted from Norman Mailer’s novel of the same name, An American Dream is poorly directed by Robert Gist, wasting the talents of the entire cast, headed by Stuart Whitman and Janet Leigh.

Stephen Rojack, a war hero, returns home to become a tough-talking TV commentator. As such, he criticizes the police’s inability to put an end to the activities of an organized-crime figure, Ganucci.

Separated from his alcoholic wife, Deborah, he goes to her seeking a divorce, and after a violent argument, Rojack throws her from a 30th-story window; he tells the police his wife committed suicide.

At the police station, Rojack runs into Ganucciand, his nephew Nicky, and nightclub singer Cherry McMahon, a former girlfriend. Rojack resumes his romantic interest in Cherry, which further infuriates the Ganuccis.

His dead wife’s father, Barney Kelly, is suspicious about Deborah’s death and confronts Rojack, getting him to admit his guilt. Instead of informing the police, Barney decides to let Rojack struggle with his conscience.

The Ganuccis convince Cherry to lure Rojack into an ambush, but at the last second, she breaks down and warns him.  Rojack takes her gun and shoots Nicky, but then he is gunned down himself.

When An American Dream bombed at the box office, the distributors retitled the film See You in Hell, Darling, but to no avail.

Oscar Context:

The film received an Oscar nomination for Best Song for “A Time for Love,” music by Johnny Mandel and lyrics by Paul Francis Webster.

Stuart Whitman as Stephen Richard Rojack
Janet Leigh as Cherry McMahon (singing voice was dubbed by Jackie Ward)
Eleanor Parker as Deborah Rojack
Barry Sullivan as Lt. Roberts
Lloyd Nolan as Barney Kelly
Murray Hamilton as Arthur Kabot
J.D. Cannon as Sgt. Walt Leznicki
Susan Denberg as Ruta
Les Crane as Nicky
Warren Stevens as Johnny Dell
Joe De Santis as Eddie Ganucci
Stacy Harris as O’Brien
Paul Mantee as Shago Martin
Harold Gould as Ganucci’s Attorney
George Takei as Ord Long


I am grateful to TCM for showing this movie on February 14, 2020.