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Die Dollar-Queen (1990) Online HD

Leona Helmsley: The Queen of Mean
Die Dollar-Queen (1990)
Movie
  • Director:
    Richard Michaels
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Dennis Turner,Ransdell Pierson
  • Cast:
    Suzanne Pleshette,Lloyd Bridges,Joe Regalbuto
  • Time:
    1h 34min
  • Year:
    1990
Spanning years of both Harry and Leona Helmsley's cutthroat control of their eponymonous empire, this made-for-TV movie chronicles both the high and low points of the couple's life together.
Casts
Cast overview, first billed only:
Suzanne Pleshette Suzanne Pleshette - Leona Helmsley
Lloyd Bridges Lloyd Bridges - Harry Helmsley
Joe Regalbuto Joe Regalbuto - Paul Summerton
Raymond Singer Raymond Singer - Jay Panzirer
Bruce Weitz Bruce Weitz - Joseph Lubin
Marcia Diamond Marcia Diamond - Leona's Mother
Patricia Collins Patricia Collins - Sandra
Gale Garnett Gale Garnett - May
Lori Hallier Lori Hallier - Sarah
Ken James Ken James
Victoria Snow Victoria Snow - Marilyn Norrito
Eric Donkin Eric Donkin - Stanley
Maurice Godin Maurice Godin - Mark
Marvin Goldhar Marvin Goldhar - Leona's Attorney
Ransdell Pierson Ransdell Pierson - Ransdell

Die Dollar-Queen (1990)
Doriel
Doriel
Love her or hate her, you have to admit that any news about real estate mogul Leona Helsmey is fascinating. The TV movie stars Suzanne Pleshette in rare form as the somewhat charming, yet hard as nails Leona. While Leona herself declared this telling as a "fairy tale", Pleshette plays her as very human and believable person. Those who hate her might reconsider their feelings, feeling sorry for her in spite of the cruel things she does. While Pleshette does not 100 percent resemble Leona (she is much prettier and younger looking than the real Ice Princess), she completely takes on the persona, separating her from the character she played for years on "The Bob Newhart Show". Lloyd Bridges, as Harry Helmsley, escapes any comparison to the bumbling characters he played in the "Airplane" and "Hot Shots" movies.

Told in flashback as Leona contemplates her fate before the verdict of her trial is heard, the story covers 30 years of Leona's life, from her divorce of her first husband (father of her son), through a short-lived second marriage which she would deny out of resentment, to her meeting Harry Helmsley, and rise to the top of the New York real estate world. Pleshette deservedly was nominated for an Emmy Award. The supporting cast is great as well, from Joe Regaibuto ("Murphy Brown") who plays Leona's wise-cracking best friend (and knowingly accepts all her faults) to the actress who played the designer of the hotel and pays dearly for upstaging "the queen". Even the non-speaking part of the maid who overheard Leona say "Only Little People Pay Taxes" is well played as the actress glares at Leona with contempt.

This makes me curious of the woman behind the legendary mogul who may have not been the nicest of powerful female business executives and others involved here, including Harry's diminutive first wife, Eve. There are plenty of moments of bitchy humor, most from Pleshette and that fabulous voice, and even some towards her. Leona herself should feel flattered by the often heartbreaking way she was portrayed and how much of a glow Pleshette adds to her public image. Available on video (but possibly hard to find), this is a film worth seeing. Those who despise TV movies will have a hard time finding fault with this one.'
Redfury
Redfury
This TV movie has stood the test of time. Suzanne Pleshette gives a phenomenal performance as the Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley and Lloyd Bridges is terrific as well as her long-suffering husband. Even 10 years after it first aired, this movie effectively captures the demonic Helmsley's reign of terror, where no employee, including her own son, is safe.
AfinaS
AfinaS
I was always fascinated by the life of Leona Helmsley (nee Rosenberg) so I gave this a chance and was riveted to the end. Suzanne Pleshette deserves some kind of award for this one. SHE WAS LEONA. Lloyd Bridges was absolutely believable as Harry Helmsley. The casting, direction, camera. timing and pacing were all noteworthy. Suzanne was gorgeous at 53, which is fairly rare, and played her from a young woman up through the years. No wonder Harry went for her. Who wouldn't? I admire a beautiful Cobra but I wouldn't marry one......... Every person connected with this production deserve a big hand in producing such quality.
Just_paw
Just_paw
she is very believable as the hotel queen, Leona Helmsley. Only the little people pay taxes, she sneers, as she and Harry are reviewing the hotel expenses (apparently her son was also in the hotel business, and also embezzled money).

Pleshette looks lovely, and mean. When she gets an assistant to wipe her shoe, the narcissism is tangible!. Also a classic scene is when she is having playing cards with her photograph on each one ..."I want them BIGGER; Harry plays pinochle, and his cards are larger"..., she fumes to a hapless assistant.

For a television movie, the acting is superior. Harry Helmsley is well portrayed by Lloyd Bridges. Anyone who remembers the publicity from the late 80's and early 90's will be interested in this film. The Helmsley Palace still stands in midtown Manhattan, but the name has been changed to protect the guilty. 8/10.
Danrad
Danrad
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.
FireWater
FireWater
According to the film, if you worked for her organization and made an exceptional contribution to one of her projects, Leona Helmsley might fire you. Why? Because she wanted to take credit for everything. If you were one of her employees, you were obviously one of the "little people". In an infamous statement, testified by one of her employees at her trial, she was quoted as saying "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes." It was tax evasion which lead to the undoing of Helmsley.

Suzanne Pleshette is perfectly cast as Leona Helmsley who was honored with the nickname "Queen of Mean". She and her husband, Harry Helmsley (Lloyd Bridges) became rich running lavish hotels, particularly in New York. She not only made irrational demands towards her employees, but would either reprimand or fire them for seemingly trivial matters. In the film, she fires a security guard for taking a break and making a phone call on the hotel's "dime". Simultaneously, the film paints a complex portrait of the one of the strangest figures among the New York elites. At times she seems reasonable, at others completely irrational. Sound familiar?

Leona Helmsley represented the pinnacle of 1980's greed and decadence. Her attitudes towards money and elites was certainly extreme but not uncommon. According to the film she would eventually be charged with over 30 counts of tax evasion. They were using the money for their businesses to fund lavish homes. While there's nothing inherently wrong with using money earned from a business to finance personal property, the Helmsley's tried to deduct it as a business expense. Contractors knew what was happening but became vocal when the Helmsley's failed to pay the contractors. They sued and testified about the Helmsley's tax practices.

Later (after the events portrayed in the film), a sobbing Leona proclaimed to reporters during her trial: "I've done nothing wrong. I'm innocent. My only crime is that I'm Leona Helmsley." Sadly, no one came to her defense. If you're the queen of mean, no one will help you at your darkest hour. And that's because she had no friends. Her "little people" testified against her at her trial.
Anen
Anen
Early in this film, New York's king of real-estate Harry Helmsley (Lloyd Bridges) unveils the model of an office block, and dedicates the new building to his charming, modest wife of 33 years. Later in the film, he unveils a model of the city's biggest hotel, and dedicates it to his second wife Leona (Suzanne Pleshette), not notably identified with either charm or modesty.

This is mainly a story of greed, so naked and unabashed that it's almost funny. We remember the famous one-liner that stuck to Leona through her jail sentence and on through the rest of her life: "Only the little people pay taxes." If truth be told, that sentiment is actually front-of-mind with most businessmen who can afford a good tax consultant, the same ones who will also discreetly furnish their homes with a few odd items that are strictly the property of the firm.

But most of them do not take it to the giddy limit that Leona does, while also making dangerous new enemies every day with her finger-snapping arrogance and her routine cry of "You're fired!" Her kleptomaniac ways are showcased early on, when she snaffles a valuable silver salt-shaker from a restaurant, refusing to hand it back when her husband begs her to, and then chiding him for paying the damage. "They'd never have been able to prove anything" she insists. Apparently the trouble can be traced back to girlhood when she felt outshone by her sister, played here by someone not especially glamorous or otherwise notable, leaving us none the wiser.

Later she displays the same unprincipled behaviour when she manages to snare Harry by leaving an engagement ring and a passionate love letter lying around the house for him to 'discover' and get jealous about. Both are fake, of course. By the end, she is defrauding the public purse on such a scale that nothing is going to save her from a jail sentence. (This was still pending when the film came out; 16 years reduced to 19 months in the end.)

Mostly we are seeing Manhattan at its most shallow and tinselly. But there is subtlety in Lloyd Bridges' performance as the ageing and vulnerable billionaire. And a certain refreshing charm in Joe Regalbuto's portrayal of her close confidant, the only man who is not pursuing her and not afraid of her.

Otherwise, a fairly unremarkable tale of hubris and nemesis, just worth a seven.
Abuseyourdna
Abuseyourdna
Miss Pleshette gives a top notch & outstanding performance as Leona Helmsley in this excellent television film ! Her portrayal of Leona Helmsley is captivating !HIGHLY recommend this film. This film gives such a realistic feel to both the characters & the ritzy atmosphere this couple lived in in New York City. I so applaud Miss Pleshette's work in this film so much so I wish she were still alive to express this too her ! I would have liked to of met her ! This is quite a departure from "The Bob Newhart Show" "Emily" character she also finely portrayed on television. This film takes one into the NEw York high society in a captivating way & Leona Helmsley drive to become rich & powerful.
Pedar
Pedar
this was definitely one of the better miniseries that i have seen. even with Susan P's terrible facial features, i agree with the other poster that couldn't believe the horrible dentures or whatever they had to do to Susan's face to get it looking like Leona's. i think they could have just left her alone and she would have still been able to depict Leona just fine. thats the eighties for you( i know, i know, its made in 1990 but technically thats still eighties backlash and they always tried to be as right on as they could) well thats what i think, thank you for reading. I just love IMD and don't know what I would do without it, do you?
Sataxe
Sataxe
well maybe i am the only one but i just couldn't stop looking at the awful dentures they put in one of my favorite actresses' mouths. how could Susan think for a moment that she was going to look normal? she looks freakish!!! otherwise the movie is a smash and depicts Leona as the psychotic woman that she really was or still is. since this movie is probably one of the better miniseries, it remains on my favorites list. a true classic and can sometimes still be seen on networks like lifetime and the ovarium channels. i try to catch up on the good ones from time to time and would like to see this one again. its definitely good, even if i gave it just a six.
Yozshunris
Yozshunris
I am calling this a guilty pleasure because normally I do not care to delve into the personal lives of public figures, but this is one time I would say it was worth it. While the plot line was thin, the cast did a great job of portraying The Queen of Mean and her billionaire husband, Harry Helmsley. While the movie did seem to explore Leona's psyche as the result of a mother who never gave her daughter unconditional love but instead based her love on how much money she made, it did not ever really explore how a billionaire could be taken in by someone like Leona. Certainly Leona was a millionairess and real estate baroness in her own right before she met Mr. Helmsley and he undoubtedly admired her spunk, but she certainly wasn't as attractive as Miss Pleshette in real life and had many negative traits. Still it is very interesting to see her wily ways to trap Harry into marriage. The movie really only deals with her adult life with Mr. Helmsley and maybe that is the only really interesting part of her life, but it would have been nice to see more of her younger years to maybe put her later years in perspective.
Haal
Haal
Suzanne Pleshette deserved an award for playing the most unlikable woman or most hated woman in recent history, Leona Rosenthal Helmsley. She climbed her way to the top of the New York Real Estate market which is quite brutal if you read anything about it. She found ultimate love and happiness with Harry Helmsley, a married billionaire. The two were destined for each other. He divorced his wife of many years and married Leona Helmsley. Pleshette plays Leona quite well almost perfect. Only because the book by the same name was used as a resource. The movie does not mention that Leona and Harry were active philanthropists who donated their vast fortune to charities. Now that Leona, Harry, and even Suzanne Pleshette who was grandiose, charming, and mad at times in this role are gone to a better place.
Usanner
Usanner
Suzanne Pleshette as Leona Helmsley was a very smart women that used her charmant and beauty to get what she wanted. When she found love and happiness with Harry Helmsley, a married billionaire, she manipulate him until He divorced his wife of many years and married.

Once she got the power, she became mean and egoist that even her son was not secure in her neighbor. She will destroy anyone who 'll bring his reign in danger. After her son dies of hart attach while cheating with another woman in a hotel, her husband, Harry, start dementing.

But at last people round her start to hate her and than justice happen. Every secret of manipulation and mental abuse of employees came to light. Leona contemplates her fate before the verdict of her trial is heard, the story covers 30 years of Leona's life, from her divorce from her first husband, through a short-lived second marriage, to her meeting Harry Helmsley, and rise to the top of the New York real estate world.

At the end she was send to jail. Very good movie.