|Directed by||Vincent J. Donehue|
|Produced by||Dore Schary|
|Written by||Dore Schary
|Music by||Conrad Salinger|
|Editing by||John Faure
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Running time||100 minutes|
The film stars Montgomery Clift, Robert Ryan, Myrna Loy, Jackie Coogan, Dolores Hart, and Maureen Stapleton in her first film role. Stapleton was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as for a Golden Globe.
Background and production
Nathanael West's novel on which this film was based was adapted for the screen in 1933 as Advice to the Lovelorn starring Lee Tracy. It was made by 20th Century Pictures and distributed by United Artists, directed by Alfred L. Werker from a screenplay by Leonard Praskins. The film was more of a comedy-drama than this version.
In 1957, the novel was adapted into a stage play entitled Miss Lonelyhearts by Howard Teichmann. It opened on Broadway at the Music Box Theatre on October 3, 1957 in a production directed by Alan Schneider and designed by Jo Mielziner. It ran for only twelve performances.
The story opens on a small-town street. A man throws a bundle of papers onto the sidewalk from the back of a truck labeled "Chronicle". Clift is sitting in a bar when a woman offers him a drink. He refuses, telling her how alcohol seems to be poisonous to him. After talking with her for a while, he finds out that she is married to the editor of the paper where he is hoping to work. The editor shows up to meet his wife only to find her talking to Monty. When he asks how Monty found him, Monty says, "I heard that there was a bar where newspaper people hang out. I came here since it is the closest to the Chronicle, the only paper in town." The Mrs. says that Monty can write and that he deserves the chance to prove it. Ryan says, "OK, so write!" Clift hems and haws momentarily, but then delivers the following story: "The Chronicle is pleased to announce the addition of a new member to our staff. He met the Editor in Chief, who went so far as to insult his own wife in an effort to provoke the new staff member. Instead of punching the editor in the face, he accepted a position on the paper."