The Girl Who Had Everything

The Girl Who Had Everything is a 1953 American romantic drama film directed by Richard Thorpe and produced by Armande Deutsch for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film features William Powell in his last MGM feature and one of his last film roles before retirement.[3]

The Girl Who Had Everything
Theatrical Film Poster
Directed byRichard Thorpe
Produced byArmand Deutsch
Written by'Play:
Willard Mack
Screenplay byArt Cohn
Based onA Free Soul
1927 novel
by Adela Rogers St. Johns
StarringElizabeth Taylor
Fernando Lamas
William Powell
Music byAndré Previn
CinematographyPaul Vogel
Edited byBen Lewis
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • March 27, 1953 (1953-03-27) (U.S.)
Running time
69 min.
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$665,000[1]
Box office$1,218,000[1][2]

The screenplay was written by Art Cohn, based upon a play by Willard Mack, which in turn was based on the novel A Free Soul by Adela Rogers St. Johns. The play and novel were also inspiration for an earlier film adaptation called A Free Soul (1931).[4]


Synopsis

Steve Latimer (William Powell) is a successful defense attorney who has tried to give his daughter Jean (Elizabeth Taylor) everything he can in life. She decides to leave her boyfriend, the amiable Vance Court (Gig Young), for Victor Ramondi (Fernando Lamas), a rakish and dangerous man with underworld connections whom Steve is representing. Steve tries to warn Jean away from Victor, but she accepts his proposal of marriage.

Principal cast

Actor Role
Elizabeth TaylorJean Latimer
Fernando LamasVictor Y. Raimondi
William PowellSteve Latimer
Gig YoungVance Court
James WhitmoreCharles "Chico" Menlow
William WalkerJulian
Emory ParnellHorse Auctioneer

Plot summary

The film The Girl Who Had Everything (1953) is a drama originally based on the novel A Free Soul (1931) written by Adela Rogers St. Johns. The film, directed by Richard Thorpe, follows the life of the young and beautiful Jane Latimer, played by actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Jane lives with her widowed father, defense lawyer Steve Latimer (William Powell) who had recently agreed to defend gambler Victor Y. Raimondi (Fernando Lamas) in a trial against the senate on the basis of charges for gambling and organized crime. Prior to the six-day trial, Jane's long-term boyfriend, Vance Court (Gig Young) asked once again for her hand in marriage, yet she politely declines claiming she is not yet ready to get married. Vance, while disappointed, agrees that it is fair for her to have "a little more time" but not too much, as he would like to settle down with her soon.

During the trial, Jane and Victor Raimondi become acquainted through their connections to Steve Latimer and immediately have undeniable chemistry. During their first night together, they converse over dinner, laugh, and Jane even opens up to Vic and nonchalantly expresses her worries about her father's struggle with alcoholism. Victor acts in a very suave and composed manner and proves himself a gentleman to Jane, which further piques her interest in him. Jane is intrigued by the fact that Victor is known to be a "bad boy" and not simply a safe choice like Vance. Given that Jane had been the "Girl Who Had Everything", throughout her life due to her father, she too wanted to have Victor. The spark between Jane and Raimondi continues to ignite when Victor outbids Vance in an auction in Lexington, Kentucky for a $20,000 colt, which he later gives to Jane as a gift.

As Ramondi's defense attorney, Steve was aware of the tricks and malintentions of Victor and seeks it necessary to warn his daughter of Raimondi's deceitful past, for he knows Victor would have never invested such a large sum of money without wanting something else in return. Although Jane acknowledges her father and initially grows upset with Victor, she continues to pursue him, as she claims she knows what she feels and cannot help those feelings. In the meantime, she agrees to her father's proposal to take a short vacation with him to the Smokies to clear her head. However, after only a few short days, she can barely stand to be apart from Victor and soon departs to New York to see him.

Upon their arrival in New York, Victor receives a newspaper article disclosing the information that the trials against him may reopen due to the discovery of classified information provided by a "mystery witness", later revealed to be Steve. Raimondi grows enraged and flustered, knowing that Steve Latimer has the power to expose his crimes and misdemeanors to the world and ruin his reputation and his chances with Jane. The two men both proceed to threaten each other in a large argument. While Steve cannot directly testify against Raimondi in court, he claims he can easily bring in witnesses attest to Victor’s murder of two mobster brothers. Meanwhile, Victor maliciously threatens Steve with physical harm if he attempts to go to Washington to testify. During this argument, the true character of Raimondi is exposed to Jane, who is finally able to see him for the man he truly is. He hits both her father and her out of anger, and even though he apologizes to her saying it was out of anger in that moment, she finally realizes her father was right all along and calls off their engagement.

Finally, Victor departs, and while he is stopped at a traffic light in his car, he is shot and killed by a man in an adjacent truck. When the news reporters come by to interview the Latimer's the following day, they express to the reporters that Raimondi was a gambler, and he lost his own game. In the closing scene, Jane and Steve reconcile and embrace each other with a long, heartfelt hug, for Steve's intuition about Raimondi was right all along, and it only took a matter of time before Jane was able to see it.

Connection to Adela Rogers St. Johns

The significance behind the film The Girl Who Had Everything can be better explained knowing the background of Adela Rogers St. Johns, the author of the novel upon which the film was based. Adela Rogers St Johns lost her mother at a young age and was raised by her father, Earl Rogers.

Her father raised her as a single parent, and in attempts to cope with the unorthodox father-daughter dynamic, he turned to alcohol. Unfortunately, he struggled with alcoholism throughout his entire life even during his career as a successful criminal lawyer, leaving a huge negative impact on Adela, and inevitably affecting her outlook on life. She resented her father's addiction so much that she considered it to be the "curse of my life".[5]

Her altered and damaged view of the world was reflected in her novel in which a young girl struggles between satisfying her father impaired by a grave addiction and learning to be independent and have a "Free Soul" on her own. The ending of the film in which Steve Latimer proved to be correct about his daughter's intuitions may reflect a similar situation in Adela's life where her father proved himself to be right over her own desires and instincts.

Reception

According to MGM records the film made $739,000 in the US and Canada and $479,000 elsewhere, resulting in a profit of $116,000.[1]

References

  1. The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
  2. 'The Top Box Office Hits of 1953', Variety, January 13, 1954
  3. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045816/trivia
  4. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0021885/trivia
  5. https://time.com/4265954/adela-rogers-st-johns/


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