Cast & Crew
In 1936, British columnist Sheilah Graham sails from South Hampton, England to New York to apply for a job with the North American newspaper alliance. Sheilah tells John Wheeler, an editor at the alliance, that she has impeccable connections because she comes from royal lineage and is engaged to Lord Donegall. John hires her, and when the town starts buzzing about a column she writes describing marriage as obsolete, offers her a year contract to write a column from Hollywood. In Hollywood, Sheilah exercises her tart tongue against star Janet Pierce. Soon after, John asks Sheilah to tone down her personal attacks in return for a chance to broadcast a weekly radio show. One night, humorist Bob Carter invites Sheilah to a party at his house, and there she meets renowned novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is working as a screenwriter at the studio. After exchanging intense glances over dinner, the two begin a torrid affair. Bob, an old friend of Scott, reminisces to Sheilah about the glamorous escapades of the Fitzgeralds and explains how Scott has been forced to turn to screenwriting in order to support his wife Zelda, who has been institutionalized in a sanitarium. Excited about winning an assignment, Scott invites Sheilah to spend a weekend with him in Tijuana, Mexico. As their relationship deepens, Scott muses that the public has lost interest in his novels. One day, Scott sees an advertisement for one of his plays that is to be performed at the Pasadena Playhouse, and invites Sheilah to join him for opening night. Dressed in evening clothes, they arrive at the playhouse in a hired limousine then discover that the play is being staged by high school students. Scott is chagrined and humiliated when he overhears one of the students exclaim that she thought he was dead. While they are at the beach one day, Scott questions Sheilah about her past, and she becomes defensive and breaks down in tears. Sheilah then confesses that she fabricated her background, and that she really is a poor, uneducated girl from the slums who was reared in a London orphanage. When Sheilah confides that she feels inferior to Scott and his educated friends, he offers to tutor her in literature and history. The day arrives for Sheilah to give her first radio broadcast, but after she stiffly delivers her address, the network, headquartered in Chicago, decides to hire a professional actress to read her columns. Scott encourages Sheilah to go to Chicago and do the show herself, and offers to accompany her there. On the day before they are to leave, Stan Harris, the producer of the film that Scott is writing, informs him that he is being fired because his work is unacceptable. Stunned and defeated, Scott begins to drink heavily. When Scott behaves obnoxiously during their flight, Sheilah, unaware that he has been fired, asks him to leave when the plane lands in New Mexico. Scott insists on continuing to Chicago, however, and in Sheilah's hotel room, he insults network executive Ted Robinson. John then defends Sheilah's right to deliver her own words and persuades Robinson to allow her to present a run-through of the program. As Sheilah is about to begin her audition, Scott comes to the studio and starts to heckle her. After escorting the drunken Scott back to the hotel, John tells Sheilah that Scott has been fired. Now understanding Scott's aberrant behavior, Sheilah returns with him to Hollywood, where he is put under a doctor's care. When Sheilah voices her fears about his incipient alcoholism, Scott promises to stop drinking. Sheilah then pleads with him to write another novel, and when he responds that he does not have the luxury of time to write, she arranges to rent a house for them in the solitude of Malibu. There, Scott completes the first four chapters of his new novel and mails them to his literary agent, hoping to have them accepted by a magazine. Some time later, Scott receives a rejection letter and begins to drink in despair. When Sheilah returns home from work to find him drunk and joking with two besotted bums, she becomes furious. Suddenly turning abusive, Scott threatens to kill her and pulls a gun from his dresser drawer. They wrestle for the weapon and when it goes off, Sheilah calls him a worthless drunk and runs out of the house. Bob summons the doctor to treat the now incapacitated Scott, and the physician cautions that he must stop drinking or face dire health consequences. Sheilah moves back to her house in Los Angeles and when Scott calls her, she hangs up on him. He continues to hound her, but she refuses to accept his letters or calls. One day, upon returning home from work, Sheilah finds a goodbye note from Scott, apologizing for the grief he has caused her. Moved by Scott's contrition, Sheilah answers his next call and agrees to see him. After he promises to stop drinking and tells her he has started a new novel, they reconcile. In the following weeks, Scott tenderly writes of meeting Sheilah and their enduring love. To celebrate his progress, they attend a preview at the studio. There, Scott falls ill and fears that people will think he is drinking once again. Sheilah covers for him, but he nevertheless refuses to see a doctor. The next day, Scott, optimistic about his book being accepted by a publisher, tells Sheilah how much he loves her and then collapses. Panicked, Sheilah calls for a doctor, but she is too late, for Scott is pronounced dead. Some time later, Sheilah walks the beach in Malibu, recalling happy times with Scott.
A. Cameron Grant
Mary Ellen Popel
Mary Jane Saunders
Paul Von Schreiber
Minta Durfee Arbuckle
Harry M. Leonard
Willie Mae Neal
Edward B. Powell
Walter M. Scott
E. Clayton Ward
Paul Francis Webster
Lyle R. Wheeler
Eddie Albert (1906-2005)
The son of a real estate agent, Albert was born Edward Albert Heimberger in Rock Island, Ill., on April 22, 1906. His family relocated to Minneapolis when he was still an infant. Long entralled by theatre, he studied drama at the University of Minnesota. After years of developing his acting chops in touring companies, summer stock and a stint with a Mexican circus, he signed a contract with Warner Bros. and made his film debut in Brother Rat (1938). Although hardly a stellar early film career, he made some pleasant B-pictures, playing slap happy youths in Brother Rat and a Baby (1940), and The Wagons Roll at Night (1941).
His career was interrupted for military service for World War II, and after his stint (1942-45), he came back and developed a stronger, more mature screen image: Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947); Carrie (1952); his Oscar® nominated turn as the Bohemian photographer friend of Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday (1953); a charming Ali Hakim in Oklahoma (1955); and to many critics, his finest hour as an actor, when he was cast unnervingly against type as a cowardly military officer whose lack of commitment to his troops results in their deaths in Attack! (1956).
As he settled into middle-age, Albert discovered belated fame when he made the move to Hooterville. For six seasons (1965-71), television viewers loved Eddie Albert as Oliver Wendal Douglas, the bemused city slicker who, along with his charming wife Lisa (Eva Gabor), takes a chance on buying a farm in the country and dealing with all the strange characters that come along their way. Of course, I'm talking about Green Acres. If he did nothing else, Alberts proved he could be a stalwart straight man in the most inane situations, and pull it off with grace.
After the run of Green Acres, Albert found two of his best roles in the late stages of his career that once again cast him against his genial, good-natured persona: the fiercly overprotective father of Cybill Shepherd in The Heartbreak Kid (1972), for which he earned his second Oscar® nomination; and the sadistic warden in Robert Aldrich's raucous gridiron comedy The Longest Yard (1974). Soon, Albert was in demand again, and he had another hit series, playing a retired police officer who partners with a retired con artist (Robert Wagner) to form a detective agency in Switch (1975-78).
The good roles slowed down slightly by the dawn of the '80s, both film: The Concorde: Airport '79 (1979), How to Beat the High Co$t of Living (1980), Take This Job and Shove It (1981); and television: Highway to Heaven, Murder, She Wrote, Thirtysomething, offered him little in the way of expansion. Yet, Albert spent his golden years in a most admirable fashion, he became something of activist for world health and pollution issues throughout the latter stages of his life. It is widely acknowledged that International Earth Day (April 22) is honored on his birthday for his tireless work on environemental matters. Albert was married to famed hispanic actress Margo (1945-85) until her death, and is survived by his son, actor Edward Albert, a daughter, and two granddaughters.
by Michael T. Toole
Eddie Albert (1906-2005)
At a studio preview, Scott and Sheila view the finale of That Night in Rio (1941).
Although the Daily Variety preview reported a running time of 108 minutes, the released film's running time was 123 minutes. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) published This Side of Paradise, his first novel, in 1920. Buoyed by the fame and fortune of his novels and magazine stories dealing with the privileged lives of wealthy, aspiring socialites during the Roaring Twenties, Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda led an extravagant life that led to Scott's alcoholism and Zelda's mental illness. After suffering several breakdowns, Zelda was in and out of clinics from 1930 until her death in a hospital fire in 1948. Zelda's mental illness had a debilitating effect on Scott's writing, and by 1936, he was hopelessly in debt and incapacitated by excessive drinking and poor physical health.
In 1937, M-G-M hired Scott to write screenplays in Hollywood, and there he met and fell in love with movie columnist Sheilah Graham. Scott, who had little success in Hollywood, was working on the first draft of a new novel, The Last Tycoon, when he suffered a heart attack and died in 1940. Graham chronicled her life and affair with Scott in her autobiography Beloved Infidel. The film Beloved Infidel, however, dealt only with the last part of Graham's book in which she wrote of her affair with Fitzgerald.
According to publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, Jerry Wald wanted to film Graham's memoirs, but insisted that she publish them in book form before the film was made. To this end, he hired Gerold Frank to help her organize and publish her story. The film originally contained a sequence dealing with Graham's childhood at a London orphanage, but it was deleted from the released print. That sequence featured Lorraine Burke as Graham as a child and Peggy Shannon as the orphanage matron, according to studio publicity. The hotel bungalow in which Fitzgerald lived and worked was part of The Garden of Allah, located at Sunset Blvd. and Crescent Heights, the Hollywood residence of many famous entertainers. Many of the actors appearing in The Garden of Allah sequence were stars in the 1920s and 1930s.
As noted in studio publicity, the character of "Bob Carter" was based on humorist Robert Benchley, a close friend of Fitzgerald. According to a December 1958 Hollywood Reporter news item, producer Jerry Wald considered casting Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer as Graham and Fitzgerald. Although Hollywood Reporter news items state that Jane Saunders, Anne Benton, Al Austin, June Blair, John Gabriel, Stanley Kamber and Nina Shipman were tested for roles, it is doubtful they appeared in the released film. According to a modern source, Deborah Kerr was unhappy with her role as "Graham" and submitted her own version of the script, which was rejected.
ABC television broadcast several films based on Fitzgerald's life, including The Last of the Belles, which was shown on January 16, 1974, and featured Richard Chamberlain as the author and Blythe Danner as Zelda and was directed by George Schaefer. Broadcast on May 16, 1976, F. Scott Fitzgerald in Hollywood starred Jason Miller and Tuesday Weld as the Fitzgeralds and was directed by Anthony Page. A television film based on Fitzgerald's life was broadcast on the Showtime network in 2002. That film starred Jeremy Irons as Fitzgerald, Sissy Spacek as Zelda and Natalie Radford as Graham.
Released in United States 1959
Re-released in United States on Video August 6, 1996
Released in United States 1959
Re-released in United States on Video August 6, 1996