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Judy Holliday as Gladys Glover, working girl of the 50's just looking for her 15 minutes of fame, finds more than that with Jack Lemmon as Pete Sheppard. Judy has a gift for capturing the childlike quality of the pure of heart "dumb blonde". It is oh so sad that we lost this comedic genius well before her time. But at least we have this treasure with Jack Lemmon at his comedic best opposite her. Add this all time comedic classic to your film library.
A true comedienne is something of a rarity. Judy Holliday will always
be remembered as one of the stage and screen's finest comediennes. The
problem facing top comedians has always been finding the right material
to suit their talents. More often than not they find themselves saddled
with inferior material, (Bob Hope, Peter Sellers, Jerry Lewis
In her brief screen career Judy Holliday was fortunate in having vehicles that managed to show off her talents. Yet there remains a nagging sense that even a movie as successful as "It Should Happen to You", does not quite do Holliday justice. It's pleasant and amusing viewing, but ultimately Holliday deserved more.
A young Jack Lemmon proves an almost perfect foil for Holliday. In his very first screen role he is a pleasure to watch. As the years passed Lemmon began to lean more and more on his famed idiosyncrasies.
The theme of "It Should Happen to You" is as relevant as ever in its dealing with the public's fascination with vacuous celebrity. Clearly not much has changed over the past fifty years.
This immensely funny comedy, which we had seen years ago, popped up
suddenly on cable. It was just a reminder of those innocent years of
New York in the 50s. It shows what a great director, George Cukor,
working with a frequent collaborator, Garson Kanin, can do as they
bring magic to Manhattan.
New York is a magnet for people with dreams and ambitions that come to the city to make their name known, as is the case of Gladys Glover, a transplant from upstate that hasn't yet made her mark in Gotham. It doesn't take long before Gladys is a minor celebrity because of her name being plastered all over town in billboards that only show her name.
There's a funny scene that takes place in Macy*s where Gladys had gone shopping with Pete Sheppard. She's buying towels that are on sale for 54 cents! Oh, and there are others for 64 cents! When she gives her name to the sales lady, the woman immediately realizes she has a celebrity in her department because she can see Gladys' name through an open window! Talk about logic, Mr. Kanin, or even Mr. Cukor, probably never set foot on the Herald Square store: there are no windows in any of the big Manhattan department stores!
The brilliant Judy Holliday makes this picture her own. She was such an accomplished comedienne that she could do anything and outshine anyone near her. It's a shame this funny lady's life was cut short of an impressive career in the stage and in movies. Ms. Holliday was an actress who brought a lot of joy to any of the roles she undertook, as proved here; we don't doubt for a moment she is Gladys because she acts without any effort.
Jack Lemmon, in his first movie, is also very likable as the documentary photographer, Pete Sheppard, who can't help himself falling in love with Gladys. Mr. Lemmon showed his huge talent from the beginning. Playing opposite Ms. Holliday must have been the answer to any aspiring young actor starting in films. He was also a natural who could do anything at all on the stage and later in his long years in front of the camera.
Watching this film is like taking a nostalgic trip to the New York of that era.
The Garson Kanin screenplay isn't out of his top drawer, but it has a cute
idea at the heart of it, one that has become more timely with the passing
years: Celebrity can be bought. Judy Holliday plays a nobody who wants to
a somebody, and with the help of a cynical agent and a clever marketing
ploy, she becomes one. Indeed, with the media machine grown so
disproportionately huge since, this movie cries out for a remake. But who
could ever match Holliday's musical, clinically precise line readings, or
her wide-eyed facial expressions? There really is only one of
Jack Lemmon, in his movie debut, is likeable and accomplished, and some amusing faces turn up in supporting and cameo roles -- Constance Bennett, Ilka Chase, Peter Lawford. There's some gritty New York location filming, approximately where Lincoln Center is now (and where "West Side Story" was shot years later), adding to the verite motif in the subplot (Lemmon plays a documentary filmmaker).
With Cukor's sure direction, everybody seems to be having a wonderful time. So will you.
Sometimes i heard the name of Judy Holliday. But i had never seen her
work. Suddenly, a lovely comedy appeared.
"It should happen to you" tell us about the real dreams, and the false dreams. Gladys Glover, is a name difficult to forget. Our charming character wants to be somebody, and she try to make reality that dream. But she makes it in the mistaken way. Because, maybe is more important the real love of a man than a fake illusion. The illusion of be famous.
Since the naked feet in the park, "It should happen to you" is a great comedy. A comedy about the love, the dreams and ... of course ... big billboards with names.
Recommended for any occasion. Especially, if you want to see a real comedy.
*sorry, if there any mistake there
There's just something about a ditzy woman miraculously making herself a
name that always seems to be a winner. I loved the way Gladys and Pete
interacted throughout the entire story, through friendship, frustrations,
unreturned feelings, and finally contented love.
It is certainly a feel-good movie, and accomplishes this task rather well. Recommended for all you touchy-feelies out there.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jack Lemmon's feature film debut came in this sprightly comedy about
getting 15 minutes of fame before Andy Warhol ever coined the phrase.
With writing by Garson Kanin and direction by George Cukor, It Should
Happen To You takes on the quality of a can't miss proposition.
Cukor and Kanin are reunited with Judy Holliday and that trio gave us Born Yesterday four years earlier. Unlike in Born Yesterday, Judy's not a kept woman, in fact she wishes she was. She's just lost her modeling job and she commiserates with Jack Lemmon during a chance meeting in Central Park. Things would sure be a lot different if she was a celebrity, her name big as life on that billboard at Columbus Circle.
The eternal light bulb goes off in her head. Judy takes all the money she has in the world and rents that billboard, splashing her character name, Gladys Glover, big as life all over Columbus Circle. Because that board is desired by advertising executive Peter Lawford, a peculiar combination of circumstances give Judy the celebrity she so craves. But is it really what she wants?
Garson Kanin had some really brilliant things to say here about the difference between lasting fame and celebrity. Although the smooth talking Peter Lawford and the roughhewn Broderick Crawford from Born Yesterday are about as opposite in personality as you can get, both are really the same kind of ruthless people in getting who and what they want.
Lemmon is third billed in the film behind Holliday and Lawford. But he functions in the same way, as Holliday's conscience and teacher. In the other film Holden teaches her about how bad Crawford is, in It Should Happen to You, he makes Judy see how her own values are so wrong.
Best scene in the film is when Judy is on a panel show with real life celebrities Constance Bennett, Ilka Chase, and Wendy Barrie all playing themselves with Melville Cooper as a pompous doctor. Judy's blank expressions are priceless as the celebrities gossip, even better than the inane dialog she's given. There's also a nice performance by Michael O'Shea as a sleazy talk show host.
Though It Should Happen To You covers a lot of the same ground as Born Yesterday, the lessons certainly bear repeating. I'd definitely try to catch this one and the on scene filming in Fifties New York definitely aid the story.
It's the difference between Madame Marie Curie and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
A cute story about a woman who gets it in her head to make herself a celebrity just by putting her name all over town, AND it works, but at what cost?? The great Judy Holiday plays Gladys Glover. She buys time on a few billboards around town to show off her name. Next thing she knows Peter Lawford is after her for one of those billboards for his drug store chain. In return he offers her several other billboards and to model for his ads. He wines and dines our dear Gladys to get what he wants. Throw in Jack Lemmon(in a early performance) who just wants Gladys to stay the little sweet unknown girl that he fell in love with, and you get this funny little comic gem. Here's hoping it comes out soon in DVD.....
It's sad that Judy Holliday made so few movies before dying very
prematurely in 1965. She had a marvelous screen presence--earthy but
extremely likable. Here, as usual, she is in top form as the sweet but
ditsy Gladys Glover. However, unlike several of her other films, this
one featured a supporting performance that was so well done that for
once, my attention was not just on Holliday. Jack Lemmon is here in his
first film and he is marvelous as well. This is NOT in the same way as
Holliday, but as a sweet everyman sort of character--one that actually
improved the film tremendously. Together, they were better than any of
Holliday's other films. Teaming her with talented actors such as
William Holden ("Born Yesterday"), Dean Martin ("The Bells Are
Ringing") and Aldo Ray ("The Marrying Kind") worked fine--but the
Lemmon-Holliday teaming was perfect.
The film begins with Holliday and Lemmon meeting in Central Park. She has just lost her job and he is a struggling documentary film maker getting shots for his next film. They begin to talk and it's obvious that there is some lovely chemistry between the characters. You really, really like the two and want to see them fall in love. And, so it would appear until something weird happened. On a lark, Holliday buys billboard space on which she simply has her name written. At first, nothing comes of it, but soon a lot of unexpected publicity results and Holliday becomes an instant star. While this would seem great, it drives a wedge between her and Lemmon. I liked this, as in some other romantic comedies, the guy is a jerk who just doesn't understand. In this case, your heart breaks for Lemmon, as he is wronged repeatedly as Holliday's attention is taken away from this sweet guy. For example, you can't help but feel for the shmoe when she blows off their date--their date to meet his parents! Can Judy get her head on straight and realize that there is more to life than publicity and notoriety? Or, will she lose the man in her life who is worth having? See this film and find out for yourself.
There is a lot to love about about the film. The acting is first-rate, the writing is perhaps even better (if it's possible) and this little film packs an amazing punch. Sweet, memorable and perhaps Holliday's best--this is a great example of simple and highly effective film making. Not to be missed!
Judy Holliday was very lucky that she and Garson Kanin worked together
so frequently. He had written the Broadway play BORN YESTERDAY that
made her a stage star. He wrote the screenplay for her first major
film, ADAM'S RIB, with his wife Ruth Gordon. Aided immeasurably by the
directing of George Cukor, their success record continued in 1954 with
IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU. While BORN YESTERDAY dealt with political
corruption, and ADAM'S RIB with the equality of the sexes in the law
(in the extreme case of the use of the so-called "unwritten law"), IT
SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU is about the nature of fame and notoriety in
Gladys Glover (Judy) gets the idea of renting a large billboard near New York City's Columbus Circle, and having her photograph put on it. She's not afraid of doing such a nutty idea - she is a professional model. But her billboard would be advertising just her - not a product or company. The billboard has traditionally been used as the central ad-board for a soap corporation, owned by aristocratic and handsome Peter Lawford. He proceeds to try to romance Judy to get her to give up her lease of the board (which will end in a few months). But the huge degree of notice the board brings to Judy turns her life around. Although she has no message for the public, the public embraces her.
The one active critic she meets is a good looking young documentary maker, who can't see what she is gaining by this. It is not that Judy needs fame - she seems quite level headed. Moreover, the young man is growing jealous at the attentions showed by Lawford to her. He's a really nice young fellow (who would appear in another film with Judy shortly afterward). His name was Jack Lemmon. Usually people thinking of Lemmon's long career recall MR. ROBERTS as his first role. His performance as Ensign Pulver did win an Oscar, but he had made about three movies before that film, and his first role is here.
Michael Shea is also in the film, as a critic who first dismisses Judy as a fiction, like "Kilroy", but subsequently becomes an evil genius to her - becoming her overly forceful agent. And Judy does have to go through some real soul searching here as she determines whether notoriety and fame is worth the trouble it brings.
The film is funnier than this description may suggest. It ranks behind THE SOLID GOLD CADILLAC and BORN YESTERDAY as her best comic performance, completing an interesting trilogy commentary on society in the U.S. at mid-century.
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