The Goddess (1958 film)

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The Goddess
Poster of the movie The Goddess.jpg
Directed by John Cromwell
Produced by Milton Perlman
Written by Paddy Chayefsky
Starring Kim Stanley
Lloyd Bridges
Music by Virgil Thomson
Cinematography Arthur J. Ornitz
Edited by Carl Lerner
Columbia Pictures
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
  • June 24, 1958 (1958-06-24)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Goddess is a 1958 American drama film directed by John Cromwell. It stars Kim Stanley and Lloyd Bridges. Others in the cast include Steven Hill, Betty Lou Holland, Joan Copeland, Patty Duke, and Elizabeth Wilson.

Written by Paddy Chayefsky, the film is an in-depth character study about the life of a troubled, lonely girl who becomes a movie star, adored by millions but miserable in her private life. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.[1]


Emily Ann Faulkner is born into poverty in The South, has no father, no friends, and is unloved by her indifferent mother, who does not want to be tied down by a child. When Emily Ann becomes a teenager, she remains a loner but has a sensual sexuality that attracts boys. She marries young but leaves her first husband, a world-weary GI, John Tower, for Hollywood.

She becomes an actress and is soon transformed by Hollywood into the glamorous superstar sex goddess, Rita Shawn. Though she has attained fame and wealth, she is still a loner in the depths of despair. When her elderly mother, who has turned from immorality to religion bordering on fanaticism, comes to visit, Rita is thrilled and clings to her. She tries to impress her and has a couple in to visit. As the guests are leaving, Rita's mother thanks them for being such good friends to her daughter. She is told that they do not really know her daughter, having just met her.

Rita wants her mother to stay on, but Mrs. Faulkner insists on going home. When she is leaving the house, Rita becomes enraged and screams from the doorway that she hates her and wishes her dead. When her mother dies, Rita is heavily sedated and miserable at the funeral. She now lives under the constant attention of a, stern secretary/nurse Harding, who takes control of the self-destructive actress.


The story is said to be based loosely on Marilyn Monroe.[2] According to an article at, "Some critics have conjectured that The Goddess was based on the career of Ava Gardner, but most think its primary model was Marilyn Monroe, who studied at the Actors Studio at the same time Stanley did."[3]

The Goddess was filmed, in part, in Ellicott City, Maryland, which serves as the childhood home of Rita and provides the backdrop for the closing scene.[4][5] The interior scenes were filmed at the Gold Medal Studios, the Bronx, New York; in addition to Maryland, location filming was also done in Hollywood, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills and at the Fox Village Theater, Westwood, California.[6]


Source: The New York Times[7]

Main cast

Supporting cast

  • Margaret Brayton as Mrs. Woolsy (uncredited)
  • Curt Conway as The Writer (uncredited)
  • Fred Herrick as The Elder (uncredited)
  • Donald McKee as R.M. Lucas (uncredited)
  • Mike O'Dowd as First Man (uncredited)
  • Sid Raymond as Second Man (uncredited)
  • David White as Burt Harris (uncredited)

Critical reception

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called The Goddess "a shattering but truly potent film, in which a lot of characters are groping for the fulfillment they cannot seem to find." Crowther argued that scriptwriter Chayefsky "has studied his subject thoughtfully, for the meshing of human contacts and emotional relations is clear and sound. Furthermore, he has conveyed them in finely written scenes and dialogue."[8] In the book The Immortal Marilyn, scholars De John Vito and Frank Tropea praised Chayefsky's writing as "masterful" and wrote that Stanley "pulled out all the stops, perfectly hitting every single note of Chayefsky's complex, lyrical arias."[9] Conversely, in an article for TCM, authors Mikita Brottman and David Sterritt criticize the work as having "a stilted pace, underwritten minor characters, and a mood that's much too solemn".[10]


In 2013, director John Mossman adapted the screenplay for a stage production at Chicago's The Artistic Home, receiving a Jeff Award for New Adaptation and marking the first screen-to-stage adaptation of a Chayefsky screenplay.[11]


  1. ^ " The Goddess Awards", The New York Times, accessed May 12, 2015.
  2. ^ Stallings, Penny; Howard, Mandelbaum (1978). Flesh and Fantasy. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 245. ISBN 0-06-055175-5.
  3. ^ Brottman, Mikita and Sterritt, David. " The Goddess ",, accessed May 12, 2015
  4. ^ Marsha Wight Wise (2006). Ellicott City. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-7385-4249-2.
  5. ^ Joseph Rocco Mitchell, David L. Stebenne (2007). New City Upon A Hill, A History of Columbia of Maryland. Charleston, SC: History Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-5962-9067-9.
  6. ^ " The Goddess Notes",, accessed May 13, 2015.
  7. ^ Crowther, Bosley. "Movie Review. The Goddess (1958)", The New York Times, JUne 25, 1958.
  8. ^ Crowther, Bosley (June 25, 1958). "Screen: Chayefsky's 'The Goddess'; Strong Drama Seen at 55th St. Playhouse". The New York Times. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  9. ^ Vito, De John; Tropea, Frank (2006). The Immortal Marilyn: The Depiction of an Icon. Scarecrow Press. p. 89. ISBN 1461706742.
  10. ^ Brottman, Mikita; Sterritt, David. "The Goddess (1958)". Turner Classic Movies, Inc. Retrieved February 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "'Goddess' finds riches in familiar celebrity tale" Archived 2014-12-13 at the Wayback Machine. (October 9, 2013) Chicago Sun-Times

External links

  • The Goddess on IMDb
  • The Goddess at AllMovie
  • The Artistic Home
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