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Actually, this film is a lot of fun - 50's style. But the best
performance in the movie is the one by Joan Blondell as Mansfield's
assistant. She has a monologue about a milkman that will leave you in
tears of laughter. Don't ever forget Blondell. Mansfield is quite
funny, too! She takes her fan club very seriously and that makes it all
the funnier. And that poodle!!
All the references to Fox movies of the day are there, plus all the digs at TV. They even add a commercial - making it very small and in black and white, fuzzy and full of snow - something the kids these days have never heard of.
Tony Randall is a scream and the perfect icon of the 50's. What a pity no one ever did an in- depth biography of him - - the stories he could surely tell!!
The movie is a lot of fun, especially if you remember the 50's. Hey! It really was like this, kids!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In the wake of Monroe's success, Hollywood teemed with imitations
This, in itself, was not an unusual phenomenon; what was extraordinary
was the number of imitations
Not only every studio but also every country came up with one England had Sabrina and Diana Dors; France sold Mylene Demongeot in that image and, of course, Bardot Germany came out with a series of teutonic, pneumatic blondes like Barbara Valentine Back in Hollywood, Universal came up with the clone-like Mamie Van Doren, Columbia with Cleo Moore, Warner Brothers with Carole Baker, Paramount with Anita Ekberg, MGM tried with Barbara Lang, and on and on ran the list of actresses who found themselves poured into the mold Even Sophia Loren and Tina Louise were, in a manner of speaking, off-shoots of the 'steamy' Marilyn in "Niagara."
No single studio was as determined to increase replicas as Monroe's own lot, 20th Century-Fox, who found the most extravagant pretender in Jayne Mansfield Although none of the Monroe copies can be said to have made it in that guise, none tried harder (right up to her sudden death in a car crash) than Mansfield
Mansfield worked in a succession of busty bits at various studios, it was the Monroe phenomenon which changed her from brunette to blonde, and made her play down her high IQ to dumb-blonde level Her breakthrough came with the 'Monroe'inspired role of the blonde sex-bomb in Broadway's "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" The display of her physical wares represented a personal triumph which led her back to Hollywood in 1956 where she became a star for Fox, who were looking to curb Monroe's power
For a guy who scaled the twin peaks of animation and feature films - a
accomplishment in the 1950s - director/gagman Frank Tashlin has,
surprisingly, few real standouts on his resume. Too often ill-served by
either his material, his stars, or both at once, Tashlin's reputation
on his cartoons (of course) and flashes of brilliance in otherwise so-so
live-action movies. After all, in most civilized nations, being the
of both CINDERFELLA and THE PRIVATE NAVY OF SGT O'FARRELL constitutes a
demerit if not an outright crime against humanity. Even Tashlin's better
pictures, like SON OF PALEFACE and THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT, tend to be
mediocrities occasionally enlivened by his outlandish visual slapstick.
SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? is the glorious summit of what had to have been
frustrating career, the one time he was matched with a writer (Geo
and cast (led by Tony Randall & Jayne Mansfield) perfectly in sync with
playfully outre satiric sensibility. The end result will make you wish
lightning had struck more often like this for Tashlin; ROCK HUNTER may be
the most beautifully 'opened-up' stage property in film history. It's
visually clever and sumptuous, engagingly witty and breathlessly paced all
at the same time. Best of all, its satiric barbs (aimed at both television
and the gray-flanneled Organization Man) hit their targets consistently
while never superceding the character-driven heart of the story: Randall
simply terrific here, and his wobbly tightwalk between schnook and
is hilarious. Add a few bonus points for the casting of the
severely-underappreciated Henry Jones as Randall's fellow ad-exec, who
authentic 50s smuttiness and desperation from his pores in every scene he
steals. Jayne's at her very best to boot, doing her trademark sex-kitten
squeal with one arched, knowing eyebrow, and displaying plenty of
resourceful smarts in her wised-up line readings throughout. As satisfying
comedy as emerged from the American 50s. Make sure you see the widescreen
version, though: you won't want to miss a thing here. Tashlin's
and his penance for Jerry Lewis and Phyllis Diller.
A fantastic satire of the modern world of business. Tony Randall stars as
Rockwell Hunter, a writer for television advertisements. He's not really
making it at his job, and is about to go under. By a couple of
he finds out where Hollywood starlette, Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield), is
hiding out in New York and thinks he can convince her to endorse a certain
kind of lipstick. When Hunter arrives at Marlowe's apartment, she uses him
to make her boyfriend, the star of a television Tarzan show, jealous. The
boyfriend reveals Marlowe's secret love affair to the tabloids, and, in an
instant, Rock has been reborn as "Loverboy" (no, not the '70s rock group),
and the girls go wild over him. He's famous, and thus begins his meteoric
rise to his company's presidency. But the further up he goes, the more he
realizes that this was never what he wanted, despite what he once thought.
The moral of the story is a bit pedestrian, but it's one that ought to be
reinforced at times. It's also delivered in quite an original way. The
is full of the kind of innovations that the undervalued Frank Tashlin was
good at. Particularly memorable is the mid-movie dig at television.
Television is a constant target in the film - it was presumably making the
lives of many in Hollywood a bit miserable. At the halfway point of Rock
Hunter, Tony Randall pops out from behind a curtain to address those in
audience who are more the type to watch television than go to the movies.
wanted to interrupt the film you are watching so the T.V. people can feel
The acting in the film is universally superb. I would never have imagined that Tony Randall could carry a movie, especially playing an everyman (I always think of him as a prissy, refined gentleman), but he does a great job. I saw Frank Tashlin's The Girl Can't Help It just last week. It also stars Jayne Mansfield, and I thought she was pretty bad. They tried to make her too sweet in that film. Here, she's more wicked, and thus a hundred times sexier. Mansfield is hilarious at times, especially with that little high-pitched squeal she does. It should get old, but it's very cute and always funny. When I was exiting the theater, there were a handful of women trying to duplicate the sound, unsuccessfully. The supporting cast is also wonderful, especially Henry Jones as Hunter's immediate boss.
The film does have a couple of problems. The script seems to forget about characters every once in a while. Although she seems important in the beginning, Rock's niece, April, basically drops off for most of the film. Likewise his fiancée (the one before Rita Marlowe appears, that is), Jenny. She comes back near the end, but her role is minimized quite a bit in the middle. Even Mansfield drops out near the end. The subplot which strictly involves her is resolved rather poorly, with a cameo appearance that should have carried more weight and really should have been funnier. All in all, though, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is a great success. 9/10.
"Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" stars Tony Randall, Jayne Mansfield,
Joan Blondell, Henry Jones, Betsy Drake, John Williams, and Mickey
Hargitay in a dated but fun story that spoofs the advertising world and
the movies' arch enemy, television. In fact, Tony Randall breaks the
fourth wall for a "commercial" during one part of the film, extolling
the virtues of that "big, 21-inch screen" as the little screen's
picture has problems with its vertical.
The story concerns an ad exec trying to get a movie star to endorse a lipstick - in return, she wants him to pose as her new boyfriend.
The performances are uniformly wonderful - Randall is hilarious as a man trying to hold onto his job, and then onto his girlfriend. Joan Blondell is fabulous as Jayne Mansfield's assistant. She can't get over her milkman boyfriend, stating that loses it whenever she sees Half & Half.
But the movie belongs to Jayne Mansfield and her tongue in cheek sex bomb image - she's so blonde, so zaftig, so breathless, and so darn funny with her squeals of delight and outrageous wardrobe. When you look beyond all Jayne's muchness, you see a beautiful, smart woman who found a great niche for herself. It's a pity that the last part of her life was so sad. What a delightful, refreshing performer she was. This film and "The Girl Can't Help It" are for me her best, though she made several other films that showcased her comedic ability.
Very good movie, highly entertaining.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a neatly done job this is. Tony Randall is Rock Hunter, a minor
functionary at a Madison Avenue advertising agency (this is a 1950s
comedy and Mad Ave was the target of many jokes). He's about to be
furloughed from his organization and then, by accident, manages to nail
the outrageous Jayne Mansfield for her endorsement of the Stay-Put
Lipstick account. Jayne doesn't care about the account but she wants to
make her boyfriend back in Hollywood jealous so she pretends to be
Randall's sex slave. An embarrassed Randall goes along with it. It all
creates more ripples than Brittany Spears and Fed Ex or other couples
of that ilk.
Pretty much everything works. The director, Frank Tashlin, knew his way around a comedy, having been responsible for a number of cartoons. He recognizes a good sight gag when he sees one. Watch the door open and the diminutive Tony Randall appear, back lighted, dressed in the over-sized suit of a muscle man, and wearing elevator shoes, staggering around like Frankenstein's monster.
He knows his hilarious dialog too. Randall is speaking to Mansfield's boyfriend, Bobo Branigansky, and pretending to be president of his ad agency. "Of course I'm the president -- but Miss Marlowe will be the TITULAR head of the company." Mansfield shrieks with delight, grabs Randall, and gives him an open-mouthed kiss, smothering half his face with her huge, blubbery lips. In a later scene, after having half his clothes ripped off by frenzied fans, Randall is offered a drink by the sympathetic Joan Blondell. Asked what he'd like, the morose Randall replies -- "I don't know. Make it something simple, a bottle and a straw." I don't want to give away any more of the gags, and the story isn't so convoluted that it hasn't already been limned in.
Let me add, though, that it's exceptionally well acted by everyone involved. Note, in particular, one long speech done in a single take with Henry Jones, as he explains to Tony Randall that success is nothing more than being in the right place at the right time. How dull it could have been. Yet Jones, with his passionate, dramatic, outrageous sing-song, makes it both gripping and extremely funny.
It's my understanding that the movie doesn't follow the play closely but I don't care. It has its own highly original touches. The movie is interrupted, for instance, by Randall who addresses the "TV fans in the audience" and demonstrates the failures of the luminescent orb in a way that makes us appreciate HDTV all the more. That scene couldn't have been in the play.
See it if you have the chance, even if you've seen it before. It's anodyne. It will chase the blues away.
Advertising man makes publicity deal with voluptuous Hollywood star.
Hilarious spoof of the mammary-worshipping 1950's. The innuendos fly fast and furious so keep an ear cocked. Sure, viewers see much racier material now on TV. Still, the dialog's clever, the visuals inventive, and the cast superb. Director Tashlin's satiric eye is penetrating and years ahead, as the 1960's-like ending suggests.
That spoof of TV advertising is especially funny and still timely. Keep in mind that the TV medium was still new and so was making fun of its life-blood commercials. I love it when the jalopy crumbles under the salesman's boastful pitch. Corporations were also growing, laying out a new yardstick for success. So, Hunter's ecstatic delight with a symbolic key-to-the-washroom is not far off. And, of course, there's Rita's (Mansfield) low-hanging sex appeal, doubly emblematic of the time.
But Mansfield's also an adept comedienne. Catch how well she spoofs her own role. And were there two more droll characters than Randall and the underrated Henry Jones. Their little tete-a-tete's fairly ooze with actors' delight. Good also to see that great brassy dame Joan Blondell pick up a payday. (Catch the rather humorous shot of her coming rump-first out of the sleeping berth, which seems Tashlin's style, even with minor details.) Looks like someone also threw her the big dramatic grieving scene, maybe out of respect for her veteran status.
Anyway, the movie's a delightful glimpse of that strait-jacketed decade's more vulnerable absurdities, and in Technicolor's brightest candy box colors. Arguably, it's Tashlin's best.
A brilliant spoof of advertising and Hollywood. Quite possibly my favorite comedy film. It took me forever to find a copy of it (on VHS), but I finally have one. I don't know why it isn't more readily available. Jayne Mansfield is a wonderful parody of Marilyn Monroe and other sex symbols. Tony Randall's reactions as an average Joe suddenly turned famous lover are hilarious. A lot of rather innovative techniques, such as the opening credit sequence, with Tony Randall introducing the film, followed by dead-on spoofs of commercials, and the very subtle use of transitioning to a blue or yellow screen before moving on to the next scene. I highly respect this film and I highly recommend it.
This is, in my opinion, Tashlin's best film... also the best
Randall and Mansfield I've seen. Randall's television interlude
is a classic, the opening credits, executive washroom scene
Bobo Branigansky interview are also fun. Wonderful sets
Technicolor cinematography rivaling Douglas Sirk in garishness.
I showed clips from the opening credits for a class presentation and someone was surprised they had such biting social satire back in the 50s. "Nick at Night" and "Pleasantville" the 50s weren't...
"Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" is a film that stars Tony Randall as
a small-time advertising executive that somehow becomes a world-wide
sensation. While none of this is particularly believable, it is fun.
Here's how it happens. Randall and his boss (Henry Jones) are worried
that they are about to lose one of the company's biggest clients--a
cosmetics company. On a lark, Randall proposes that they get a famous
movie star (Jayne Mansfield--playing a Marilyn Monroe knockoff) to
endorse the cosmetics. However, Jayne's character is a bit of a
self-publicizing nut and begins promoting Tony as her latest lover.
With the usual media blitz following a bit star, Tony becomes all the
rage--and EVERY woman seems to think he's an amazing lover. While he
hates all this publicity, he cannot tell everyone the truth--or else
Jayne will not sign the contract. So, until she does so, he has to
pretend to be this 'Lover-Doll' and put up with the annoyance. There's
a lot more to the film than this (including a clever cameo at the end)
but I don't want to say more about this--it would spoil the fun.
While I will admit that some of the humor is a bit broad, the film is quite fun and original. Randall is great and Mansfield is in one of her better roles. And, when it comes to spoofs about the advertising world and fame, it's very good. And, if you like it, try watching the great Doris Day/Rock Hudson film about advertising, "Lover Come Back"--it's even better.
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