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HOPE LANGE & DIANE BAKER SEEK OUT 'THE BEST OF EVERYTHING'

Hope Lange in The Best of Everything YEAR: 1959
Right when you think THE BEST OF EVERYTHING is about "The New Girl in The Office", another arrives much quicker, more naive, awkward, sweet and gentle; so basically, Diane Baker makes Hope Lange seem cool as a cucumber on her, or rather, their first day...

Hope Lange getting lit
And yet the main star, fresh from a side role as Montgomery Clift's fiancee in THE YOUNG LIONS and, after starring in a safe seat television series in the 1960's, would kickstart the vigilante DEATH WISH franchise by dying violently under the unrelenting fervor of Jeff Goldblum. But this particular Hope isn't without a snag: contending with Joan Crawford, who plays the bitch boss, and quite naturally.

So we've batted-about a myriad of pop culture, as is usual here, but to now settle down into this particularly breezy THE BEST OF EVERYTHING, one of those deliciously dated 1950's melodramatic motion pictures that, filmed in glorious Cinemascope and looking like a heavenly palette of vibrant colors were added to an original black & white template as opposed to it being a natural process intended all along, people resemble those bright, fantastical creatures of old Encyclopedias... And yet, throughout a still uptight era in post-War America, these girls aren't altogether prudish...

Best of Everything Score: ***1/2
The imperfect choices they make, leading to the things they do aren't exactly shown but more spoken of and involve particular characters to either evolve or go completely bonkers, like Suzy Parker as Gregg Adams, a would-be actress had she the talent and, most important during the tail-end of a glamorous era, perfect looks of her two roommates, who have nothing to do with becoming movie stars but easily could be... like Hope and Diane are in real life...

Diane Baker in The Best of Everything
She falls so fiendishly in love with GIGI leading man Louis Jourdan as a womanizing director, and she's got a slight... fatal attraction...

Only instead of burning proverbial bunnies, this poor, pathetic dame does nothing but harm herself while her particular scenes, filmed in contrived dutch angles, are downright boring and melodramatic compared to the more involving soap operatic tales with Lange and Baker. Meanwhile, third-billed Martha Hyer as classy blonde Barbara Lamont, having an affair with a married man, has almost nothing to do with the picture: a lot of what's in Rona Jaffe's source novel was cut-down for time reasons... And this dull couple aren't the least bit interesting...

Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu Ray Cover
Unlike the usually-intense BEN HUR villain Stephen Boyd, with a chin-dimple that makes Kirk Douglas's seem like virgin cement, goes through the motions, having to wait for fate while most of the fun is had by a head editor who's both old fashion and modernized, being that he flirts, and even bounds on top of, every new secretary... Then goes home and listens to Sinatra on his leopard skin couch... most likely.

Twilight Time Booklet
And the real shame is, since Hope Lange's Caroline, second nature as an editor instead of secretary in this office dealing with publishing dime-store romance paperbacks catered to lonely housewives, is such a strong-willed lady who, despite remaining in love with a perfect jerk while ignoring the perfect man, Boyd, is so topnotch at her job, the spiteful dynamic between her and Crawford comes to nothing, way too soon, and ironically, their anti-chemistry is the BEST this EVERYTHING had going...

Trumping the hit/miss avenues including an, at that time, controversial subject of abortion having to do with Baker's April with a sadistic, womanizing cad played by a mediocre actor who'd turn into a big important producer of CHINATOWN, and would run Paramount Pictures during the GODFATHER reign a decade later, Robert Evans. But men don't matter... not really... They may be around, and have their say, and it all seems like their selfish pagan playground, but with the best stories and by far the easiest on the eyes, it's really Hope Lange and Diane Baker's ride, pretty much all the way.
Hope Lange and Diane Baker are the two true stars of THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Suzy Parker as Gregg in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Hope Lange and Joan Crawford in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Diane Baker and Hope Lange in THE BEST OF EVERYTHING
Brian Aherne and Hope Lange in The Best of Everything
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