Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dear Montgomery

Today's recommended movie on TCM is the interesting and slightly odd Lonelyhearts, at 4:30 PM ET.

Montgomery Clift plays Adam White, a young man trying to restart his career in the world of journalism. The only editor who will give him a job is William Shrike (Robert Ryan), who's got a mean streak a mile wide, and a loveless marriage to a wife (Myrna Loy) who has decided she'd rather spend her days getting drunk on Cinzano. Shrike's sadistic side leads him to give Adam that job -- but only as the "Miss Lonelyhearts"-style advice columnist!

Montgomery Clift was never a Dear Abby, but still, after a while he takes to his job conscientiously, trying to give the best advice he knows how to the poor saps who write in to the newspaper. Things, however, take a turn when he rather stupidly decides to meet one of the people who's actually written him, a housewife named Fay Doyle (Maureen Stapleton). Like the boss' wife, Mrs. Doyle feels trapped in a crappy marriage and reaches out to poor Adam for love, despite the fact that he's already got a girlfriend (Dolores Hart). Worse, she's got a husband whose jealousy is matched only by our editor's malice! What's a poor advice columnist to do? (Perhaps he should try writing in to the advice column for help.)

Lonelyhearts isn't the greatest movie out there by any stretch of the imagination, but it's enjoyable enough as all of the actors are really professionals. You can't help but think most of them had seen their characters several times in the past: Ryan's meanness in Crossfire; Loy in Wife vs. Secretary; and Clift's brooding in A Place in the Sun. Only Stapleton, making her movie debut, is fresh, and she got a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work.

Lonelyhearts has never made it to DVD as far as I'm aware, so you're going to have to catch the infrequent TCM showing.

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