Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean  [DVD]
Suzanne Pleshette (actor)
Lloyd Bridges (actor)
Format: all-region dvd (worldwide)
Quality: Digital, 4:3, colour.
Randsell Pearson's fact-based book provides the basis for this gossipy, though well-cast television-movie chronicling the stormiest business years in the life of wealthy New York City hotelier Harry Helmsley and his eventual wife Leona, who took a particular delight in running roughshod over "the little people". There's no attempt made to delve into Leona's complicated psyche (why did she seemingly hate everyone who stood in an 'inferior' position to her power...and why did she apparently terminate friendships with those trusted few who only wanted her to see the truth of her actions?).
Still, if the film is just a well-dressed tattler (and a thin one at 94 minutes), it isn't campy and is served well by Suzanne Pleshette's strong performance as "The Queen of Mean". Matching her are Lloyd Bridges as Harry (who occasionally got fed up with his wife's possessiveness), Joe Regalbuto as confidante Paul Summerton, and Raymond Singer as
Leona's son Jay (who actually tried to bilk his stepfather's subsidiary without being noticed).
The movie doesn't pretend to be art and the final summation was probably already dated by the time the picture aired but it certainly keeps its audience entertained.