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In Dear Heart (1964), Geraldine Page (Best Actress Academy Award winner for The Trip to Bountiful in 1985) portrays Evie Jackson, a naive but self-sufficient small town postmistress visiting New York for a postal convention. She strikes up a friendship with businessman Harry Mork (Glenn Ford), a hotel guest who is troubled by his social-climbing fiance Phyllis (Angela Lansbury) and her beatnik son, Patrick (Michael Anderson, Jr.). As Harry and Evie slowly fall in love, the former is distracted by a sexy shop girl, his fiance's sudden visit, and her exasperating son. The frantic quality of his life almost causes Harry to miss the one thing that would ensure his future happiness.
Although Dear Heart is not one of Delbert Mann's most acclaimed films, it is essential viewing for Geraldine Page's performance alone. As her affection for Glenn Ford's character deepens, she alternates between a touching vulnerability and a barely suppressed hysteria. Veteran character actresses Ruth McDevitt (The Birds, 1963), Alice Pearce (TV's Bewitched series, 1964-66), and Mary Wickes (Sister Act, 1992) turn in comic performances as a trio of convention-going spinsters foreshadowing Evie's future without Harry, and Richard Deacon (The Dick Van Dyke Show, 1961-66) appears as a fussy conventioneer. The songs sung by the postal workers in the hotel bar are memorable and Henry Mancini, author of the hypnotic "Peter Gunn Theme", wrote the title tune for the film. Dear Heart was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Song, but lost to "Chim Chim Cher-ee" from Mary Poppins (1964).
Director: Delbert Mann
Producer: Martin Manulis
Screenplay: Tad Mosel
Cinematography: Russell Harlan
Editor: Folmar Blangsted
Art Direction: Joseph C. Wright
Music: Henry Mancini
Cast: Glenn Ford (Harry Mork), Geraldine Page (Evie Jackson), Angela Lansbury (Phyllis), Michael Anderson Jr. (Patrick), Barbara Nichols (June Loveland).
by Jessica Handler