Best of Everything, The (1959): Negulesco’s Melodrama, Starring Joan Crawford, Hope Lange, Suzy Parker, Martha Hyer, Diane Baker

“The Best of Everything,” a glossy Fox melodrama in 1959, was based on Rona Jaffe’ best-selling novel, commissioned by producer Jerry Wald.

The Best of Everything
The Best of Everything film poster.png

Theatrical release poster

“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 husband too 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.

Oscar Context

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.

Hope Lange as Caroline Bender
Stephen Boyd as Mike Rice
Suzy Parker as Gregg Adams
Martha Hyer as Barbara Lamont
Diane Baker as April Morrison
Brian Aherne as Fred Shalimar
Robert Evans as Dexter Key
Brett Halsey as Eddie Harris
Donald Harron as Sidney Carter
Louis Jourdan as David Savage
Joan Crawford as Amanda Farrow
Ted Otis as Dr. Ronnie Wood

Directed by Jean Negulesco
Screenplay by Edith Sommer, Mann Rubin, based on The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe
Produced by Jerry Wald
Cinematography William C. Mellor
Edited by Robert Simpson
Music by Alfred Newman
Color process DeLuxe Color
Distributed by 20th Century-Fox

Release date: October 9, 1959 (US)

Running time: 121 minutes
Budget $2 million