Saturday, February 4, 2017

Beloved Infidel: Gregory Peck brings F. Scott Fitzgerald to life

F. Scott Fitzgerald won’t leave me alone. Seriously, he's been dead for what, seventy five years, and he continues to haunt me, teasing me, not only with his novels and stories, but with the story of his life, at once glamorous and tragic. 

I know I’m not the only one, the new Amazon series about Zelda Fitzgerald —Z: The Beginning of Everything, is proof that our American obsession with the great writer shows no signs of abating. 



My own interest flared up when I learned that Fitzgerald died here in Los Angeles at the Hollywood apartment of his mistress, Sheila Graham, a famous British born gossip columnist of the day. 



Peck as Scott writing The Last Tycoon, an unfinished novel that we’ve seen adapted a couple of times. 


Graham wrote a book about her life with the troubled writer and that book was turned into a film starring Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr. 



Peck must have had a blast raging and ranting as the alcoholic Fitzgerald in the movie, not that it earned him, Ms. Kerr or the picture, any praise in the press.  



The New York Times had this to say when the movie was originally reviewed— 
And since the screen play of Sy Bartlett does not manage to make this character any more than a washed-up and sullen screen writer sponging off a woman columnist in Hollywood, the story of this couple's fitful romance that is ground out for more than two hours in the picture that came last night to the Paramount is generally flat and uninteresting.’’

Variety, who points out that while Graham elevates Fitzgerald in her book, the movie turns the tables, depicting Fitzgerald “as a weak, moody, spoiled child with little more to his credit than the attractive looks of Gregory Peck.’’
Problem is primarily with Peck, who brings to Fitzgerald the kind of cleancut looks and youthful appearance that conflict with the image of a has-been novelist, whacking away at a studio typewriter to make a living and to meet his family obligations. Kerr can’t overcome the artificiality of the part or the situation, and after a while the affair just peters out and becomes dull.’

But, still! Gregory Peck and Deborah Kerr together! How can we not want to watch!  Enjoy this vintage trailer for today’s Saturday Matinee, Beloved Infidel.



Beloved Infidel is available to stream on YouTube, Vudu & Google Play.




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