6.5/10
849
19 user 13 critic

The Happy Ending (1969)

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

Director:

Richard Brooks

Writer:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean Simmons ... Mary Wilson
John Forsythe ... Fred Wilson
Shirley Jones ... Flo Harrigan
Lloyd Bridges ... Sam
Teresa Wright ... Mrs. Spencer
Dick Shawn ... Harry Bricker
Nanette Fabray ... Agnes
Bobby Darin ... Franco (as Robert Darin)
Tina Louise ... Helen Bricker
Kathy Fields Kathy Fields ... Marge Wilson
Karen Steele ... Divorcee
Gail Hensley Gail Hensley ... Betty
Eve Brent ... Ethel
William O'Connell ... Minister (as Wm. O'Connell)
Barry Cahill 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

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 May 1970 (Ireland) See more »

Also Known As:

Amar Sem Amor See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pax Enterprises See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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...
See more »

Connections

Features Father of the Bride (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Diamonds Are Forever
Written and Performed by Michel Legrand
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Smashing Performance by Jean Simmons
22 November 2005 | by drednmSee all my reviews

The Happy Ending is dated and overlong but Jean Simmons is just terrific as the bored Denver housewife who turns to drink. Simmons earned her only Oscar nomination for this film. Many of the scenes in this film ring very hollow now, especially the "swinging" party where people actually KISS! Shocking. But looking past the hideous 1969 fashions worn by Simmons and Shirley Jones and Tina Louise, the film tries to take a serious look at modern-day marriages. So in counterpoint to the desperate housewives in Denver we get Shirley Jones as a happy hooker approaching 40 and getting a little desperate herself.

Simmons and Jones were college chums away back in 1953. Simmons married; Jones became a party girl. They meet on a plane to the Bahamas as Simmons is running away from her boring boozy life. Jones is shacked up with Lloyd Bridges. So we see the two extremes and two choices open for women. Luckily Simmons sees thru Bobby Darin's awful gigolo act and accent.

Back home Jones is abetted by a pill-popping cleaning lady (Nanette Fabray) who helps her thru her various crises with husband (John Forsythe), mother (Teresa Wright), and daughter(a very unappealing Kathy Fields). And then there are those parties! Poor Tina Louise is stuck married to schmuck Dick Shawn.

Best thing in this movie are the performances. Jean Simmons is just excellent as the smoldering wife who can't quite figure what's gone wrong. Shirley Jones is fine as the tramp. Nanette Fabray is funny and touching as the domestic. John Forsythe is OK as the dumb-ass husband. Tina Louise is good as the bored neighbor. And Teresa Wright is solid as the mother who just can't figure out the new generation and changing times. Dick Shawn and Kathy Fields are both lousy.

The film also boasts the excellent Michel Legrand song, "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"


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