In the early 1900's Tennessee, a loving family undergoes the shock of the father's sudden, accidental death. The widow and her young son must endure the heartache of life following the ... See full summary »
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
Teresa Wright was just 11 years older than Jean Simmons, who was playing her daughter. See more »
During opening credit sequence, many late model 1960's cars can be seen in flashback scene supposedly set 15 years earlier. See more »
Lady, I'm a bum. A hustler from L.A. down on his luck. One long run of rotten luck. I've been like a goddamn service station to all kinds of broads from all over the world. Gas 'em up, grease their parts, charge their batteries, "Hello, goodbye, that's service with a smile... Who's next?"
Jesus, lady, I'm 34, my hair's falling out, and you were my long shot. For a while there we had somethin' nice going. Somethin'... Sorry, lady, but I can't afford to waste it. Lady, I used to be a pistol. Bang...
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Writer/Director Richard Brooks made some well respected films like In Cold Blood and The Blackboard Jungle, as well as this unintended camp fest. Like Brooks' Sweet Bird of Youth and Looking for Mr. Goodbar, The Happy Ending is an elaborately misconceived mess but, a lot more fun.
It's a sincere attempt to portray middle-age unhappiness: infidelity,emptiness, aging, pills, and booze, but the dialog has to be heard to be believed. Talented Jean Simmons (Great Expectations, Spartacus, Elmer Gantry) stars as an alcoholic Denver housewife along with a host of second string actors like Bobby Darin, Tina Louise, Nanette Fabray, Dick Shawn, and Shirley Jones who recite the laughable dialog as if it was profound. My favorite piece of imparted wisdom is delivered by Nanette Fabray: "If sex were the only thing that really mattered, the WHOLE WORLD would be run by rabbits!"
The Happy Ending may be best remembered for its Oscar-nominated theme song "What Are You Doing for the Rest of Your Life?" that's heard several times throughout the film. The film has an effective ending, fine cinematography from Conrad Hall, and as he did in Looking for Mr.Goodbar and In Cold Blood, Brooks uses extensive flashbacks and flashy editing. Jean Simmons, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Hamlet in 1948, received her second Oscar nomination(Best Actress) for this film. She and director Brooks were married at the time. Released the same year as Easy Rider, The Wild Bunch, and Midnight Cowboy, The Happy Ending pretty much disappeared without a trace. Because it takes its subject seriously, the film becomes seriously funny. It does for desperate Denver housewives, what Valley of the Dolls did for ladies in showbiz. Hard to find but, worth catching.
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