Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) Poster

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Don't Forget Blondell!
RichWall27 November 2004
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!
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Mansfield was the Monroe phenomenon which changed her from brunette to blonde...
Nazi_Fighter_David23 July 2005
Warning: 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…
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A Loopy Delight
fowler14 July 2001
For a guy who scaled the twin peaks of animation and feature films - a rare 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 rests on his cartoons (of course) and flashes of brilliance in otherwise so-so live-action movies. After all, in most civilized nations, being the director 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. WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER? is the glorious summit of what had to have been a frustrating career, the one time he was matched with a writer (Geo Axelrod) and cast (led by Tony Randall & Jayne Mansfield) perfectly in sync with his 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 is simply terrific here, and his wobbly tightwalk between schnook and lothario is hilarious. Add a few bonus points for the casting of the severely-underappreciated Henry Jones as Randall's fellow ad-exec, who oozes 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 a 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 masterpiece, and his penance for Jerry Lewis and Phyllis Diller.
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Delightful send-up of advertising and TV
blanche-26 June 2006
"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.
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Hilarious and intelligent
zetes28 September 2002
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 coincidences, 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 film is full of the kind of innovations that the undervalued Frank Tashlin was so 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 the audience who are more the type to watch television than go to the movies. "I wanted to interrupt the film you are watching so the T.V. people can feel at home."

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.
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Thoroughly Successful 50s Comedy.
Robert J. Maxwell29 November 2008
Warning: 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.
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Sharp-Eyed 50's Satire
dougdoepke31 January 2011
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.
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A Success
RunPepe12 October 2003
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.
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Classic 50s Satire
News_9918 June 1999
This is, in my opinion, Tashlin's best film... also the best of Randall and Mansfield I've seen. Randall's television interlude is a classic, the opening credits, executive washroom scene and Bobo Branigansky interview are also fun. Wonderful sets and 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...
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This is a lot of fun, Lover-Doll...
MartinHafer29 June 2011
"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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A masterpiece.
brettson10 November 1998
This is brilliant film-making. Romantic and subversive at the same

time. Randall and Mansfield were never better and Henry Jones is

brilliant as always. Tashlin skewers 50s America but it still

works 40 years later. I give this movie my highest possible

recommendation. See in widescreen if possible.
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The Best of the Best
tash-816 December 2000
Frank Tashlin's brilliantly sardonic romantic satire remains his best film, one of many forgotten Tashlin masterpieces of the 1950s. Jayne Mansfield shines as the larger-than-life comic relief, Tony Randall is Tashlin's troubled alter ego, torn between corporate "success" and personal satisfaction, Henry Jones is his tragic, pill-popping, excessively phlegmatic executive co-worker , Joan Blondell a washed-up, lovelorn, milk-obsessed (!) variation on the Mansfield-type. The color, the Cinemascope, the set design all produces a cartoon-like visual magic which makes the deeply serious subject matter not only palatable but highly entertaining. Never mind Tashlin's mastery of Brechtian distanciation...
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makes you "stayput"
ptb-826 April 2004
Hilarious.....hilarious....and can I say.....hilarious.......the perfect smut laden 50s farce if ever there was one....and there was one........and it's this one....!..greater than THE GIRL CANT HELP IT and equally demented. For sheer vulgarity I have NEVER heard such Farrelly-esquire risqué rudeness in a 50s or even 60s film: Joan Blondell says whilst making a cocktail: "I had a boyfriend once, he was a milkman, I used to get a lump at the back of my throat when I knew he was coming. But it didn't last, I guess he found a girl who liked his brand of cream more than me". There is half a dozen censorship busters like this too.......all thanks to Frank Tashlin. This is as fresh and funny as it was in the 50s and deserves a higher profile in the annals of REAL funny films. My videotape is in cinemascope too so try and see it that way if you can.
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Oh Lover Doll !!!
jjnxn-15 January 2014
Frothy, fun comedy with some smart jabs at advertising and fan worship. Tony Randall is a hoot as the suddenly fish out of water main character and Jayne Mansfield, repeating her stage triumph, is a knockout and proves an adapt comedienne. She's no Marilyn Monroe but had she had more roles like this her career at the top might not have been so short.

While Tony and Jayne do most of the heavy lifting script wise the main supporting cast adds a great deal to the picture. Joan Blondell scores strongly as Jayne's right hand woman. An actress of wonderful subtlety she makes what could have been a nothing role both humorous and touching at times. Henry Jones and John Williams both add sly portrayals of two different kinds of successful men, one who wants to climb higher and the other who never wanted to be there in the first place. The weakest link is Betsy Drake as Rock's true love, the part doesn't offer much but unlike Blondell she doesn't have the distinction to make more of it than what's on the page. She doesn't mar the film she's just sort of there and when she's off screen you forget about her.

The picture has that high gloss studio sheen and gorgeous saturated color that was a signature of the A pictures of that time. A winner and a great showcase for its stars.
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Jayne shines
Rrrobert25 July 1999
A lightweight comedy famous as Mansfield's next big film after 'The Girl Can't Help It'. As with the earlier film, this was produced by Frank Tashlin and unashamedly satirists Jayne's public persona: a busty star of little apparent talent who will do anything for publicity. This time around Jayne plays Rita Marlowe who teams with advertising exec Rock Hunter (Tony Randall) for mutual gain. The film is quite long winded and wordy, revealing its stage origins, and doesn't seem certain whether its sending up the Hollywood publicity machine, the perilous climb up the corporate ladder, or the introduction of television. It tries all three in equal doses, fully succeeding in none, while the unsubtle anti-TV jokes are very dated. That said, anyone watching it will be watching to see Jayne and she's great in this film. All of her too-brief scenes are funny and she plays very well with Joan Blondell, who is excellent as Rita's wise companion-assistant. Apart from Blondell there are a few other enjoyable performers in the cast. John Williams of Hitchcock's 'To Catch a Thief' and 'Dial 'M' For Murder' is in the cast, and Henry Jones, the supercilious coroner in 'Vertigo', is also quite good as Randall's boss.

A film that would have benefited from a bit of judicious cutting to speed up the leisurely pace, and a little bit more of Jayne. Watch to the end to see the surprise guest star.
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Boyo-231 August 1999
What's not to love about this movie? I am completely in love with this hysterical movie. No one else in the universe could do the things Jayne Mansfield gets away with; Tony Randall is great, so is Joan Blondell and Henry Jones. You'll never do chest exercises after seeing this movie!
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Witty but mellow
itamarscomix30 June 2013
This piece of satire from 1957 was probably considered edgy and sharp back then, but it really didn't age too well, and there isn't much else about it to make it stand on its own legs as a classic. The witty send-ups of television, the advertising industry and celebrity culture seems tame and mellow now that real celebrity culture is so much more extreme than anybody in the 50's might have guessed, and reality had surpassed any possible satire. The film is still watchable, even entertaining - the script is solid and smart and has more double entendres than most writers back then and which probably should have never received the Hays code's approval. Joan Blondell is hilarious and steals the show whenever she's on screen, and obviously Jayne Mansfield is a screen presence to be reckoned with, and she nails her role here and is a real pleasure to watch. Tony Randall spoils it a little - he's just good enough to be passable as a dull straight man, but he's far more wooden and dull than the role calls for, and he did better before and after, most notably in TV's The Odd Couple. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is worth keeping if only because Jayne Mansfield films are so precious few, and it still has the slightly campy fun of a 50's comedy, but it isn't a classic worth lingering on.
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What A Cinematic Fossil
Lechuguilla29 August 2014
It's a super-dated fluff story about an ambitious advertising man named Rock Hunter (Tony Randall) who finds a way to climb the corporate ladder with the help of a bleach-blonde bimbo with big lips named Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield). She coos and squeals, and poses in front of a camera, on her way up Hollywood's stardom ladder. I have seen silent-era films that had more depth, entertainment value, heart, and contemporary relevance than this atrocity.

Characters are as shallow as they are silly, as superficial as they are stereotyped. The only thematic message is contained in the film's title. And guess how the film defines "success"; materialistic values, here we come. Aside from this odious theme, there is no message. Viewers back in 1957 must have been easy to please and free from the burdens of critical thinking to enjoy such a nothing movie.

Each main actor gets his or her own long monologue, no doubt a selling point to lure in the principal performers. I didn't like the way Tony Randall breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to viewers, corn pone savoir-faire straight from Hollywood. Script dialogue lacks subtext. And the plot flows straight from point A to point Z with nary a zigzag to interfere with viewers' minimal comprehension skills.

Background music is standard 1950's nondescript. Casting is acceptable except for Tony Randall, a mouse who couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag, much less able to take on the rigors of cold, in-house corporate politics. The one really fine performance is from reliable Joan Blondell, as companion to dimwit Rita Marlowe. Joan Blondell and a few funny lines save this antique from being a total cinematic misdemeanor.

Apparently aimed at an audience of giggly 16-year-old females, this popcorn and candy flick is pure diversionary fluff, and embarrassingly dated, a time capsule of horrid mainstream American pop culture during the stodgy Eisenhower era. No wonder juveniles back then were driven into delinquency.
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Very good Tashlin satire about, well, whatever he fancies, really.
Richard Burin18 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Advertising ideas man Tony Randall hits the jackpot with his latest ruse - now he just needs to convince pouty, bleached-blonde movie megastar Jayne Mansfield to use Stay Put lipstick on those "oh so kissable lips". She, meanwhile, is in the mood to make her cheating muscle-man jealous. Director Tashlin - a former animator who brought a uniquely cartoonish sensibility to films like Son of Paleface and The Girl Can't Help It and was a major influence on Joe Dante - chucked out almost all of George Axelrod's source play (a satire on the movie business) and replaced it with an exhilarating script that speaks its own language and takes aim at anything he fancies, starting with celebrity, corporations, conformity, marketing, materialism, Hollywood producers, TV and radio. Randall is excellent as the overnight success story wrestling variously with a tabloid nickname ("lover doll"), an over-sized suit and the attentions of dozens of teenage girls, and there are two exceptional performances in support: a deliciously mannered turn from Henry Jones as a superficial executive with his own theory on success, and Joan Blondell giving a masterclass in old-style movie acting as Mansfield's world-weary secretary. Her monologue about the love of her life - a milkman-turned-movie- producer - is absolutely heart-stopping, a perfect marriage of tender sentiment and off-kilter humour. It's a definite, sorethumb-of-a-highpoint in a bright, funny film that doesn't strive for dramatic resonance too often, preferring instead to bombard the viewer with in-jokes, satiric barbs, absolute filth and moments of post-modern inspiration, as Tashlin hammers down the fourth wall like his old chum Wile E Coyote.
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Was Marilyn Monroe's breathless delivery Mansfield's?
bettycjung28 January 2018
1/26/18. I watched this because it is a National Film Registry pick. It was an okay movie for the time period. However, what was interesting was Mansfield's breathless delivery throughout the whole movie. While Marilyn Monroe was her contemporary, after watching this movie it makes me wonder if all the characteristics that Monroe was noted for (breathless delivery) was really Mansfield's creation than Monroe's. Oh well, I guess we'll never know.
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Time well spent!
JohnHowardReid7 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
NOTES: The play opened on Broadway at the Belasco on 13 October 1955, and ran a most successful 444 performances. As it happens, however, all Hollywood bought was the title, and even this was changed in England and Australia. Although the central character in both movie and play have the same name, the action is entirely different. In the play, the writer (Orson Bean) sells his soul to a satanic Hollywood agent (Martin Gabel) in exchange for an Oscar and the favors of Hollywood's number one sex symbol (Jayne Mansfield, in her Broadway debut). In the end, our Hunter is rescued by Walter Matthau. Also in the Broadway cast were Tina Louise, Harry Clark, Carol Grace and Michael Tolan. The famous songwriter Jule Styne produced, while playwright Axelrod himself directed.

COMMENT: It's a mystery why Fox bothered to fork out a hefty fee to Axelrod to purchase the movie rights to his Broadway play. Some commentators have suggested the studio just wanted to buy the title. If so, they certainly short-changed themselves, as they actually changed the title (not only in England and Australia, but also in Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Bermuda, Trinidad and Hong Kong).

Hollywood is rarely prepared to attack Hollywood, let alone hold the industry up to more than the mildest satire. Television, however, has always been fair game. So what we have here represents a complete shift in target. Television and TV advertising are now firmly in the firing line. Given that shift, "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" still comes over as very, very funny. Tony Randall, who never gave a bad performance in his life (even when atrociously miscast as in "The Seven Faces of Dr Lao"), makes the most of one of the most perfectly tailored roles he was ever handed. It seems likely that Frank Tashlin, the writer, performed the same service for Jayne Mansfield, for she is likewise inspired. The two principals play in amusingly-timed rapport. No doubt the encouragement of Tashlin, the director, helped no end.

In this latter function, Tashlin has inventively filled the wide expanses of his CinemaScope screen not only with pleasing players (including Betsy Drake, Joan Blondell, John Williams and Miss Mansfield's real-life husband, Mickey Hargitay), but deft visual and aural effects. In some of these highly diverting moments, you can sense that the director's early training in the Warner Bros cartoon division was indeed time well spent.
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Cartoon-like satire that indulges in everything it makes fun of
De_Sam31 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A film with ups and downs in a variety of ways; from the long takes to fast-cut slapstick scenes, from the snarky sarcasm aimed at television, radio, advertising companies (highlight is the opening credits, filled with satiric commercials that seem to have influenced Paul Verhoeven for his scenes in RoboCop) to the cliché, over-the- top happy ending that actually does not feel forced because of the whimsical atmosphere of the film. It really does feel like a live-action adaptation of a cartoon Tashlin had stuck in his head.

Sadly several aspects grated my nerves, I know Jayne Mansfield was playing the same irritating satirical embodiment of '50s film stardom as she did in The Girl Can't Help It, it does not make it any less horrible to listen to. Especially when Betsy Drake begins imitating her.

Some of the dialogue, specifically almost all of Henry Jones's lines, is so cringe-worthy it stops being satire and ends up being so-bad-it's-good if you can get over the sheer ridiculousness of sayings like 'solvy solved', the wit needed to make this kind of writing work is not present in a lot of the scenes. Tashlin tries to overcome this with including crude humour, which is very dated with all its sexist under- and overtones.

In conclusion, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is worth viewing solely on the basis of its unique character, just do not expect a witty commentary on the entertainment industry or an interesting plot.
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Too formulistic and not that funny
kijii5 November 2016
In this movie, Rock Hunter (Tony Randall) works for a Madison Avenue advertising agency with working pal, Henry Rufus (Henry Jones). The firm is headed up by Irving La Salle Jr. (John Williams). Junior fires Rock for disrupting a sales meeting.

However, Hunter's niece, April (Lili Gentle), is a huge fan of Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield) who is coming into NYC with her traveling companion, Violet (Joan Blondell). When Rock thinks up a marketing idea for selling Stay-Put lipstick by having Rita promote it, she is only too happy to do it providing that Rock will pretend to become her "Lover Doll" in order to make her boyfriend, Bobo (Mickey Hargitay) jealous. Rock goes along with the idea, but this only serves to make his girlfriend, Jenny Wells (Betsy Drake), jealous of the well-endowed Rita.

The marketing idea makes Rock Hunter successful beyond his dreams. But: --Will success spoil Rock Hunter? --Will Rock be able to hold on to Jenny in spite of his public sales ploy with Rita? --Will Violet find love and happiness? Does "Junior" find his true love? Tune in tomorrow for the answer to these, and other, burning questions.

All in all this is not my type of movie: too much glitz and not enough substance. For me, it even fails as a comedy.
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Will laughter spoil the next comedy I watch?
mark.waltz1 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A brilliant comedy that spoofs the world of advertising, publicity and fan worship. Tony Randall scores his greatest role as Rock Hunter, a staid advertising executive looking for the perfect image for a lipstick advertisement. Discovering that his niece is obsessed with movie star Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield), he decides to get her to endorse the lipstick, hoping that it will get him in good with the stuffy head of the company, John Williams, who snubs him, bringing out the beast in thus mild mannered milquetoast. Mansfield not only agrees to endorse the lipstick, but creates a huge publicity scheme that makes everybody believe that Mansfield and Randall are in love. This is ultra upsetting to Randall's secretary/fiancée Betsy Drake and makes Randall's immediate supervisor (Henry Jones) wonder what Randall puts in his wheat germ to look like he does and all of a sudden become "lover boy", the sought after target of a group of determined fan girls.

Ironically spoofing his friend Rock Hudson, Randall is both nebbish and sensual as the publicity turns him into somebody even he doesn't know. It is obvious who Mansfield is spoofing, and without making any names, she makes it very clear while gentlemen prefer blondes. Normally I can't stand the sound of female screeching (hawk calls I refer to them as), but when Mansfield does it, I can't help but roar in laughter.

In fine support, Joan Blondell (once a popular blonde bombshell herself) is excellent as Mansfield's assistant, especially when she confides her own troubled romantic past. She provides a slew of wisecracks in the manner of her future "Grease" co-star, Eve Arden. Wearing little, sexy Mickey Hargitay is funny as a Tarzan style actor, complete with leading lady chimp, whom Mansfield insists he smelled like when he came to pick her up for their dates.

Henry Jones also scores laughs as the dipsomaniac boss, creating guffaws by just pouring a morning martini, sending his daughter off to therapy and later, romancing Blondell. Look fast for Barbara Eden as a buxom secretary. While this might be considered a period piece as far as advertising industry is concerned today (as well as publicity for modern movie stars) it is one of the classic comedies of the 1950's. 20th Century Fox parodies their own publicity department, although it never once mentions the influential star whom Mansfield is spoofing. I can imagine the laughs that Mansfield must have gotten on Broadway, but like her first movie lead, you must admit, the girl can't help it.
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edwagreen26 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Absolutely ridiculous 1957 film where the glib advertiser, Tony Randall, suddenly becomes a great success at the advertising firm he works for by getting Jayne Mansfield to endorse a certain lipstick.

It's basically the same old story that success in life isn't everything, especially when it interferes with the relationship of his true love.

Other than being a sex object, Mansfield does little to nothing. Ditto for Joan Blondell, her assistant, who did have one funny line. When asked if she goes out on blind dates, she replied: "Only when I'm blind!" The line was appropriate since the film lacked vision and the break for a commercial was really inane.

Veteran actor John Williams really changed his usual persona of a tough British officer by playing the head of the firm who finally gives in to his desire of being a horticulturalist.
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