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The Happy Ending (1969)

M  -  Drama  -  4 September 1970 (Finland)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 566 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 9 critic

A middle-aged woman walks out on her husband and family in an desperate attempt to find herself.

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Title: The Happy Ending (1969)

The Happy Ending (1969) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mary Wilson
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Fred Wilson
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Flo Harrigan
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Sam
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Mrs. Spencer
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Harry Bricker
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Agnes
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Franco (as Robert Darin)
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Helen Bricker
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Marge Wilson
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Divorcee
Gail Hensley ...
Betty
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Ethel
William O'Connell ...
Minister (as Wm. O'Connell)
Barry Cahill ...
Handsome Man
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Storyline

The triumphs and failures of middle age as seen through the eyes of runaway American housewife Mary Wilson (Jean Simmons), a woman who believes that ultimate reality exists above and beyond the routine procedures of conscious, uninspired, everyday life. She feels cheated by an older generation that taught her to settle for nothing less than storybook finales, people who are disillusioned and restless and don't know why, people for whom life holds no easy answers. Great supporting cast includes John Forsythe, Teresa Wright, Lloyd Bridges, Shirley Jones, Bobby Darin, Tina Louise, Dick Shawn, and Nanette Fabray. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

We're not in love. We just make love. And damn little of that! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

M | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 September 1970 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

The Happy Ending  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theresa Wright was just 11 years older than Jean Simmons, who was playing her daughter. See more »

Goofs

During opening credit sequence, many late model 1960's cars can be seen in flashback scene supposedly set 15 years earlier. See more »

Quotes

Mary Wilson: I've found the secret formula: IF you look and smell right, IF your hair is the right color, if you drive the right car, smoke the right cigarette, if your bosom is big, and firm, and fully packed, and your breath is sweet and your teeth are bright, then you'll find love, marriage, and be happy forever... if - IF - you promise never, but never, to grow old.
Sam: Why not? It's the American Dream.
Mary Wilson: I thought that was money?
Sam: Love and money are related by marriage.
Flo: Daddy, what's marriage?
Sam: Business. BIG ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Features Susan Lenox <Her Fall and Rise> (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

Something for Everybody
Music by Michel Legrand
Lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman
Performed by William Eaton (as Bill Eaton)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
well-acted study of a dead marriage
13 December 2004 | by (south Texas USA) – See all my reviews

THE HAPPY ENDING might not seem special today, and may well seem very dated in some ways, but we must remember this is the pre-DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE era. I'm sure the film seemed pioneering in its day, questioning the role of the traditional housewife and demanding that women are entitled to the same satisfaction and autonomy that men expected. Writer-director Richard Brooks often dealt with social issues and political themes--that he took on women's issues is no surprise. The film is especially an acting tour-de-force: Jean Simmons as the unsatisfied woman; John Forsythe as the non-understanding but well-meaning husband; Teresa Wright as Simmons' mother; Dick Shawn and Tina Louise as a miserable couple; Shirley Jones as the woman who survived by having affairs with married men; Lloyd Bridges as a married man with Jones as his mistress; Bobby Darin as a lost and lonely gigolo looking for that one big score. I was also impressed by the film's structure--with two parallel stories a year apart and various flashbacks all presented in such a way that the details of the relationship's coming apart are given to us a little at a time, and we are gradually brought to the point where we understand WHY the present state has become what it is. It's quite well-paced and creates tension throughout. Also, the unexpected and non-traditional ending is perfect. It's tempting to wonder what these rich people are whining about when people in the same community are working two jobs, sixteen hours a day, or starving, or dying of cancer, but Ms. Simmons' performance makes us care about and sympathize with her character. The film would perhaps also be of value as an educational tool for future generations who want to understand the ending of the pre-feminist era. Those who enjoy the teaming of stars Jean Simmons and Shirley Jones and director Richard Brooks should also check out his excellent film version of Sinclair Lewis' ELMER GANTRY. Those who know Shirley Jones only from The Partridge Family might be shocked to see what a fine dramatic actress she is!


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