The Best of Skyscrapers
Cheers to all high-risers. Today is National Skyscraper Day, an annual celebration of the dazzling sky-high structures across the country that represent the aspirations of dreamers. The date selected corresponds to the 1856 birthdate of architect Louis Henry Sullivan, a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright who has been called the “father of skyscrapers.” Just as the conceivers and builders of these tall steel titans were dreamers, so too were the legions of office workers who populated them. Twilight Time has gotten high marks for its recent Blu-ray release of The Best of Everything (1959), the all-star Twentieth Century Fox screen adaptation of Rona Jaffe’s bestseller about the lives and loves of Manhattan workplace women, played by Hope Lange, Suzy Parker, Diane Baker, Martha Hyer and the venerable Joan Crawford. Directed by Jean Negulesco and shot in CinemaScope by veteran cinematographer William C. Mellor, this well-appointed tale of the career-driven and romance-minded employees of a multidivisional firm divides its widescreen footage between uncannily accurate soundstage interiors recreating a publisher’s cramped editorial and creative design offices and what you might call the money shots: sigh-inducing New York City location lensing that puts the principals on Big Apple streets…along with many loving camera pans from the approaching stars on the ground up the sleek and shiny structures representing that promise of the movie’s title…and then slowly downward again to street level as the characters exit. Decades of misbegotten big-business shenanigans may have tarnished a bit of the luster and majesty of the metropolitan skyscraper (and on the Blu-ray’s commentary track, original author Jaffe is upfront about the mix of the glamorous and the amoral in both book and film), but The Best of Everything remains a towering treat.