6.5/10
803
20 user 12 critic

The Happy Ending (1969)

R | | Drama | 22 May 1970 (Ireland)
A middle-aged woman walks out on her husband and family in an desperate attempt to find herself.

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Fred Wilson
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Sam
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Mrs. Spencer
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Harry Bricker
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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
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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:

Marriage is a 30 billion dollar business! And that's just to get married. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some substance abuse and brief nudity | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

22 May 1970 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Amar Sem Amor  »

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

Teresa 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

Flo: Some girls work their way through college selling magazines. I sold *me*.
Sam: I don't want to hear it.
Flo: It's a success story with a bang finish. Lucky my mother hated breast-feeding, or I'd been alcoholic before I could walk. Finally killed her. Every Sunday, drunk or sober, she'd give me the same lecture: "Girl, ya' gotta' go to college. Because without an education, you either end up a big-mouthed housewife, or a big-assed whore." My freshman year, she dropped dead - smack in the middle of praying...
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Connections

Features Father of the Bride (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Whistle While You Swing
Written and Performed by Michel Legrand
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User Reviews

 
If you like the song "What are you doing the rest of your life..."
5 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

--this film is for you, as you'll hear that song constantly throughout the film.

"The Happy Ending" stars Jean Simmons, John Forsythe, Teresa Wright, Shirley Jones, Nanetete Fabray and Lloyd Bridges, and is directed by Simmons' husband, Richard Brooks. Interestingly, Teresa Wright didn't like his directing and found it pedantic, adding, "but I can't say anything because of Jean." Jean Simmons is one of my favorite actresses and this story serves her well. After twenty years, the lust is gone from Mary Wilson's marriage to husband Fred (Forsythe); she drinks, she pops pills, and finally, after a huge spending spree, her husband takes her credit cards and charge accounts away from her. Her favorite thing is watching old movies which have happy endings; strangely, one of her favorites is Casablanca. Casablanca has a noble ending, even a satisfactory ending. But a happy ending? I mean, Bogie ends up with Louis.

Finally, Mary manages to get her hands on some money, and she takes off for the Bahamas, where she is taken in by an old school friend (Shirley Jones), the "other woman" in several relationships who now finds herself involved with Lloyd Bridges, looking pretty darn good, I might add.

The film seems to be a series of flashbacks and music videos; it is surprising how little dialogue there actually is. Jean Simmons at 40 is radiantly beautiful as usual and she does a great job as Mary. Simmons was a totally underrated actress, squeezed in as she was with the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. Brooks again has cast Shirley Jones as a bad girl, and again, she's effective. Teresa Wright plays Mary's mother, who can't quite understand her daughter's quest for happiness. Mary wants the fairytale.

I found this film just okay, at times confusing because of the seamlessness of the flashbacks, and frankly, I got sick of hearing "What are you doing...", a song a young man once sang to me and informed me that he had written it. Right.

Anything with Simmons is worth seeing, but at times, this one is tough going.


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