Friday, April 10, 2020

Scruples

Scruples is a 1980 television mini-series, based on the 1978 novel by Judith Krantz. It was produced by Warner Bros. Television and starred Lindsay Wagner.

Scruples included the final screen appearance of Gene Tierney.

Wilhelmina Hunnewell Winthrop is a plain young woman, and a "poor relative" of the Winthrops, a wealthy Boston family. After she graduates from high school, she is given a sum of money by an aunt and goes to live in Paris with family friends. There, she undergoes a transformation of both body and soul, first losing weight, then gaining Parisian style under the guidance of Liliane, the elegant Frenchwoman who is her hostess. She is also introduced to Edouard, Liliane's nephew, who gives her the nickname "Billy." It is her first intimate love affair, but when the aristocratic but impecunious Edouard discovers that Billy is just a poor relative of the Winthrop family, he shows his true colors and ends the relationship.

Billy returns to America and moves to New York where she is hired by Ikehorn Enterprises as a secretary. During a business meeting in California, she becomes romantically involved with the wealthy CEO, Ellis Ikehorn, who is far older than she. The couple then marry and the next several years are happy ones, as Billy and Ellis live a glamorous life. However, Ellis later suffers a stroke, and Billy moves them from Manhattan to the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles for the better climate.

Billy hires a male nurse, Jake Cassidy, to look after Ellis. However, Billy lives as a recluse in their enormous house and looks aimlessly for some purpose in her life, eventually developing a compulsion to shop in Beverly Hills. Ellis advises her to find something to do that she is good at, perhaps in fashion. Some time later, Ellis dies and leaves Billy an enormous fortune. Jake, motivated by debt, then tries to blackmail Billy but fails.

Heeding Ellis's advice, Billy decides to open a luxury boutique on Rodeo Drive called "Scruples." She hires a young French designer, Valentine O'Neil, to design couture clothing for the customers, and also hires Valentine's close friend, Spider Elliot, a former fashion photographer who becomes the Creative Director of the store. However, Valentine and Spider have a history of rocky relationships of their own, with Valentine first getting herself involved with her closeted gay boss and later with Billy's married attorney Josh Hillman, and Spider's involvement with troubled model-turned-actress, Melanie Adams.

With Scruples a success, Billy then marries Vito Orsini, a film director. As she is also part-owner of a Hollywood studio (assets left to her by Ellis), she helps Vito to finance his new film, "Mirrors." However, studio boss Curt Arvey is not happy with Billy's interference in his studio and intends to sabotage any chance of the film's success. During this scenario, Billy also becomes friends with Dolly Moon, a flamboyant supporting actress in Vito's film.

A power struggle later ensues when Curt Arvey attempts to confiscate Vito's film before it can be finished and keeps it locked in the studio's vaults. Billy and Spider manage to steal the film back so that Vito can finish editing the film at home. Meanwhile, Billy is once again menaced by Jake Cassidy, who breaks into her home and attempts to rape her, but he is apprehended by the police just in time. The story ends as Vito's film wins an Academy Award for Best Picture, and Billy announces that she is pregnant with their first child. At the same time, Spider and Valentine realize that their long friendship has turned into love.

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