I watched so many movies lately: good ones, bad ones, interesting ones! But for today's review I have chosen Beloved Infidel (1959), with the ever so lovely Deborah Kerr and Gregory Peck, both of whom are intense objects of my affection. :)
BELOVED INFIDEL (1959): Cast, plot details
In 1936, the witty columnist Sheilah Graham leaves her noble British fiancé and travels in the Queen Mary from Southampton, England, to New York. She seeks out the editor of the North American Newspaper Alliance, John Wheeler, offering her services but he sends her to the Daily Mirror. Sheilah becomes successful and John offers a job in Hollywood to write a gossip column about the stars. When Sheilah meets the decadent writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, they immediately fall in love. Sheilah discovers that Scott accepts any job to financially support his wife Zelda that is in asylum, and his daughter at a boarding school. She opens her heart to him and tells the truth about her origins; but their relationship is affected by his drinking problem. [from IMdb]
- Deborah Kerr as Sheilah Graham
- Gregory Peck as F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Eddie Albert as Bob Carter
- Philip Ober as John Wheeler
THE VERDICT: ★★★★
This is an emotional roller coaster of a film in which Kerr & Peck combine their talents which results in natural, human performances and an entertaining film. Give it a watch.
This movie was based on a book of the same title written by Sheilah Graham detailing her relationship with the Jazz Age's greatest author, F.Scott Fitzgerald. Before watching this, I had no clue that Sheilah & Scott had had an affair; I had always just thought of Scott & his wife Zelda, to be honest. Now I remember reading in one of the Lucy biographies I own a short passage about how Fitzgerald, who lived in the same building as Lucy, and Sheilah, used to spy on Lucy & Desi when they came back from weekends they had in Palm Springs and make bets on who would win. (This was before they were married, and their escape to Palm Springs would be filled with romantic declarations, but when they came back on Sunday night they were usually fighting over something). I don't know how I missed that when I read the book, but it didn't really register with me that Graham & Fitzgerald had had an affair.
Deborah Kerr & Gregory Peck have wonderful chemistry together. And though both of their roles deal with demons that seem to destroy them at times - for Sheilah, her muddled background as "Lily Sheel" which is far less blue blooded than she makes it out to be, and for Scott, he is forced to come to terms with his alcohol abuse & the fact that his books don't sell as much as they once did - Deborah & Gregory did a wonderful job of making the roles they portrayed likable.
And I shouldn't even LIKE Sheilah Graham because of some of the mean things she said about Lucy, but you couldn't help but sympathize with her in this movie. There are points where the intensity of her relationship with Scott just get simply violent and scary because of his alcoholism. And Deborah played her so well, you can understand her conflicting pain: she loves Scott so much but he's dangerous, he's violent, and he's completely someone else when he drinks.
The same goes for Gregory Peck.When Scott got he drunk, he did stupid & embarrassing things. And as I stated before, violent things. But Gregory did a wonderful job of distinguishing the fine line between the two different facts of Scott: one that was the glorious free thinker that brought us some of the greatest novels, and the other that was tormented by this terrible alcoholism. You hated one side of him, the alcoholic side, but the other side was so wonderful you couldn't help feel sorry for - and sympathize, even with - the other side.
Though it's not a perfect movie, Deborah & Gregory's performances make it really worth while. Not to mention it's entirely exciting, heartbreaking, and human too. If you like movies like this, movies about people & romances that aren't perfect, I really suggest you watch it.
PHOTOS & TRIVIA
- In the studio preview scene, Sheilah & Scott are watching That Night in Rio.
A MOVIE TIDBIT
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PS: As you noticed, I've slightly changed the interface for the SMR. I think it's cleaner and more visually appealing. Comments?