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Lonelyhearts (1958)

Eager for a job, journalist Adam White accepts the lowly position of columnist for the advice-giving section of the Chronicle but he often clashes with his cynical editor, Shrike.

Director:

Vincent J. Donehue

Writers:

Dore Schary, Howard Teichmann (play) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Montgomery Clift ... Adam White
Robert Ryan ... William Shrike
Myrna Loy ... Florence Shrike
Dolores Hart ... Justy Sargeant
Maureen Stapleton ... Fay Doyle
Jackie Coogan ... Ned Gates
Mike Kellin ... Frank Goldsmith
Onslow Stevens ... Mr. Lassiter
Frank Maxwell ... Pat Doyle
Frank Overton ... Mr. Sargeant
John Gallaudet ... Johnny, Bartender
Don Washbrook Don Washbrook ... Don Sargeant
Johnny Washbrook Johnny Washbrook ... Johnny Sargeant (as John Washbrook)
JB Welch JB Welch ... Charlie
Mary Alan Hokanson Mary Alan Hokanson ... Edna
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Storyline

Eager to land a journalistic position, Adam White goes to work as an advice-giving newspaper columnist. His editor, Shrike, takes pleasure in browbeating his alcoholic wife Florence for her past adultery, and assigning his employees journalistic jobs for which they have little aptitude or interest. Shrike goads Adam into meeting one of his correspondents, Fay Doyle, a teary, self-pitying woman who makes a play for him. Adam is torn between his loyalty to the newspaper and his girl Justy. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"SOME WIVES CHEAT BECAUSE THEIR HUSBANDS DO...AND SOME BECAUSE THEY'RE JUST NO GOOD!" (original print ad - all caps)

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Miss Lonelyheart See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Vincent J. Donehue came from a stage background and essentially filmed the piece as a play. This went down well with the cast as they were all from stage backgrounds. See more »

Goofs

Drama critic on major metropolitan morning newspaper comes into work morning after he's seen a lousy production of Othello complaining about review he'll have to write; in reality, critics for morning newspapers write reviews same night play opened so critiques will appear in following morning's editions. See more »

Quotes

Fay Doyle: Whatever you say Pat.
Pat Doyle: [mockingly] 'Whatever you say Pat.' You drive me crazy Fay! Just plain nuts!
Fay Doyle: Whatever you say Pat.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in God Is the Bigger Elvis (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Ambitious but unsuccesful film version of a great novel.
8 September 2002 | by misterjonesSee all my reviews

Nathaniel West's "Lonelyhearts" is a haunting novella about how an idealistic young man is affected by his job as an advice-giving columnist for his town's newspaper. It was intelligently adapted for the stage in the mid-50's, and the film version plainly uses that adaptation as a reference point as much as the novel itself. In ways, the film expands on the play's success, opening it up to reveal an idealized 50's picture-postcard town on the surface before centering on the insensitivity lying just underneath. Writer/Producer Schary and Director Donohue are to be commended for the atmosphere they have successfully created. It is unfortunate that they did not have enough faith in the material to resist the temptation to give it a happy ending, an ending which really is not in keeping with the events which precede it.

It must have seemed like a great idea to cast Montgomery Clift in the lead role of Adam, and a few years earlier it would have been, but this compelling actor's personal demons had so impacted upon him by this time that it is impossible not to be distracted by his unhealthy state of being. His slurred speech, unsteady gait and jerky mannerisms are entirely at odds with this character, who is said to have never had a stronger drink than a coca-cola. He is too good of an actor not to have effective moments - he works beautifully with Onslow Stevens, who plays his father - but this is a performance that holds our attention largely for unintentional reasons. Maureen Stapleton is sensational in her film debut as a writer to the column who manipulates Adam, and her performance would be right at home in a more faithful and successful version of this novel. Otherwise, this is a well-intended film which fails both to adequately reflect the novel on which it is based and to succeed on it's own terms.


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