Synopsis by Hal Erickson
For his film directorial debut, producer Dore Schary selected a longtime pet property: Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathaniel West's trenchant 1933 novel. Montgomery Clift delivers a haunting performance as journalist Adam White, assigned by his cynical editor Adam Shrike (Robert Ryan) to take over a newspaper advice column. Signing himself Miss Lonelyhearts, White is appalled by the human misery pouring out of the letters sent to him (one of his correspndents was born without a nose), but Shrike insists that anyone who'd write to such a column is fake. To find out for himself, White looks up one of the correspondents, unhappily married Fay Doyle (Oscar-nominated Maureen Stapleton). His pity for the seriously disturbed Fay nearly leads to tragedy (in the novel, there's no "nearly"). Meanwhile, Shrike tries to contend with his own tottering marriage to his wife Florence (Myrna Loy). In additional to shortening the title to Lonelyhearts, Dore Schary made a number of radical changes in the original, adding an overabundance of "meaningful" dialogue and softening the character of Florence Shrike. Purists were enraged by Schary's liberties, while critics carped at his perfunctory direction; audiences, however, seemed to like the film.
anchorperson, handicap, journalism, lonely-hearts-columnist, lovelorn, reporter, self-discovery