The Girl Who Had Everything opens with an evening news broadcast, where Elmer Peterson is announcing that a man named Victor Ramondi (Fernando Lamas) will be investigated. Ramondi is the leader of a gambling ring.
Watching the broadcast are beautiful, young Jean Latimer (Elizabeth Taylor) and her father (William Powell). The Latimers live in Lexington, Kentucky, where Mr. Latimer is taking some time off after a long, successful and completely exhausting career as a lawyer. He sees his “job” now as making up for lost time with his daughter (and staying away from alcohol, his greatest vice). He is reluctant to take on trial work for the time being.
Latimer’s law partner, John Ashmond (Robert Burton), is Ramondi’s attorney… and Ramondi wants Latimer on the case, too. Latimer is persuaded when Ashmond pays him a visit, and he heads to DC to work the trial.
When Jean heads to DC to support her father at the final hearing of the trail, Ramondi meets the young Miss Latimer and the two fall for each other, despite Mr. Latimer’s protestations.
Richard Thorpe directs The Girl Who Had Everything, a 1953 film which mixes courtroom drama, crime drama and young romance. The film runs at a brief 69 minutes and is a remake of 1931’s A Free Soul.
I ran across this film on WatchTCM and decided to give it a look for the opportunity to see William Powell, a TMP favorite, and the legendary Elizabeth Taylor sharing the screen. I’d heard nothing of this film before! So, my expectations weren’t too high despite that star power.
The Girl Who Had Everything is a bit of a slow-starter, which I was hoping it wouldn’t be given its short running time. It gets better once the relationship between Jean and Ramondi starts to develop, but it never really reaches its full potential or finds an appropriate pace.
The performances are solid and there are a handful very striking scenes, but I can see why this film isn’t mentioned among the best of any of the stars involved. Taylor and Powell impress, but their efforts aren’t enough to make the film great. The strongest scenes actually occur between Powell and Lamas, with Mr. Latimer’s anger over his daughter’s relationship boiling over.
The Girl Who Had Everything is a decent watch — decent, and nothing more. The premise would have worked so well as a soap-y, Sirk-y melodrama, but it just never reaches those heights. I was hoping to love it, especially with Powell and Taylor involved, but if I want to revisit this story I’ll stick with A Free Soul in the future. The score: 2.5/5