Poor little Dina Moran, on a plane to L.A., dreams of beating out Woodward and Berstein for the Pulitzer Prize at a ceremony staged like the Oscars. But then she arrives in Hollywood to find the Roper News Syndicate has hired her to be "The Gossip Columnist," heroine of a recklessly laggard TV movie at 8 tonight on Channel 20.
Michael Gleason wrote, and James Sheldon sleepily directed this sudsy bash, which has only momentary and perhaps accidental little fits of energy at very infrequent intervals. Morgan's boss tells her, "Think trash," and "Just keep it down and dirty," and somebody should have given that advice to Gleason. "Scruples" may have been slop, but next to this thing it looks like a runaway train.
In the title role, dim Kim Cattrall never musters even the semblance of spunk, and when she's supposed to grow fangs with her increased power it's obvious she isn't even possessed of fingernails. The cast is flabby with also-rans and deadbeats and cameo appearances by such giants of the screen as Allen Ludden and Betty White. As themselves.
However, the fiasco has one performance that is strictly knock-out, and that's Martha Raye, as an aging singer who is done dirty by her ambitious manager (Robert Vaughn, still sneering) and eventually leaps over the rainbow via pills and liquor.
Raye sings only one complete song, "Angele Eyes," but there's more heart and soul in that three minutes than in the whole rest of the movie. In fact, Gleason was dumb enough to let Raye say, while watching on TV one of the films she made with Bob Hope in the '30s, "Pictures were a lot more fun in those days -- to make and to watch." If that were a case that needed to be proved, "The Gossip Columnist" could be exhibit A.