High Cost of Loving, The (1958): Jose Ferrer’s Comedy, Starring Gena Rowlands in her Feature Debut

Oscar-winning actor Jose Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac) directed The High Cost of Loving, a serio comedy best known today for featuring the acting debut of the great actress Gena Rowlands.

The film, originally called Bay the Moon (from the Shakespeare quote, “I’d rather be a dog and bay the moon than such a Roman”), was based on original story by Milo Frank and Rip Van Ronkel.

Gena Rowlands, who had been a Broadway success in Middle of the Night, was signed by MGM to a contract that stipulated two films a year.

The High Cost of Loving
High Cost of Loving poster.jpg

film poster

Jim Fry learns that his place of work is merging with another company, while his wife of nine years Ginny gets pregnant with their first child.

Jim celebrates with friend Steve Hayward, but when invitations are extended to a company luncheon to meet the new executives, Jim is excluded. The word goes around quickly that new president Eli Cave is planning a few changes. Jim feels upset and betrayed after 15 years of loyalty to the firm.

Ginny is pleased about the baby, but after Steve’s wife, her friend Syd, speaks happily of the upcoming luncheon and improved prospects for their husbands, Jim confesses to Ginny that he’s actually about to be fired. The angrier he gets, Jim decides to write a letter of protest, then confront Cave face-to-face, particularly after seeing his name being removed from his office door.

Jim is unaware that Cave is planning a promotion for Jim. He is eager to invite Jim to the luncheon personally, which results in Jim needing to request his angry letter be returned.

When all is resolved, he and Ginny toast his new success and their future parenthood.

The movie was a commercial failure.

José Ferrer as Jim Fry
Gena Rowlands as Ginny Fry
Joanne Gilbert as Syd Heyward
Jim Backus as Paul Mason
Bobby Troup as Steve Heyward
Edward Platt as Eli Cave


Directed by Jose Ferrer
Produced by Milo O. Frank Jr.
Written by Alford Van Ronkel, Milo O. Frank Jr.
Music by Jeff Alexander
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by Ferris Webster
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Release date: 1958

Running time: 87 minutes


TCM showed the movie on December 7, 2020.