6.1/10
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20 user 8 critic

Happy Birthday, Wanda June (1971)

A family reacts to the return of the patriarch who abandoned them seven years prior.

Director:

Mark Robson

Writers:

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (play), Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Rod Steiger ... Harold Ryan
Susannah York ... Penelope Ryan
George Grizzard ... Dr. Norbert Woodley
Don Murray ... Herb Shuttle
William Hickey ... Looseleaf Harper
Steven Paul ... Paul Ryan
Pamelyn Ferdin ... Wanda June
Pamela Saunders Pamela Saunders ... Mildred Ryan
Louis Turenne Louis Turenne ... Major von Koningswald
C.C. Whitney C.C. Whitney ... Mrs. Kestenbaum
Lester Goldsmith Lester Goldsmith ... Mr. Kestenbaum (as Lester M. Goldsmith)
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Storyline

A family reacts to the return of the patriarch who abandoned them seven years prior.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 December 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s Happy Birthday, Wanda June See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original Broadway production of "Happy Birthday, Wanda June" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. opened at the Edison Theater on December 22, 1970, ran for 96 performances and closed on March 14, 1971. See more »

Quotes

Penelope Ryan: Doctor Woodley, I would like you to meet Harold, my husband. Harold, I would like you to meet Doctor Woodley, my fiancé. Goodnight dear
[kisses Harold]
Penelope Ryan: goodnight dear
[kisses Dr Woodley]
Penelope Ryan: . Stay or go; talk or sulk; laugh or cry - as you wish. Do whatever seems called for. My mind is gone. Good night.
[she closes and locks door]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: 12 to the Moon (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shuffleboard anyone?
28 March 2010 | by dungeonstudioSee all my reviews

Yes, I have to toss my two thumbs up into the heavens for this film as well. Seen a few times at a very young age. Bit of a slow start as Harold returns home and all. But soon as the cake is introduced with 'Happy Birthday Wanda June' on the counter, the surreal begins! A brilliantly funny, but I'm sure 'unpolitically correct' view of 'heaven' - even at my young virgin age, I was kinda shocked. Wanda June, cute as a bugs ear - but tragically hit by a truck before her birthday. Assistited by a fatherly Nazi to help explain the utopia of their afterlife. Like Nazis and Jesus playing shuffleboard all day in heaven? And you know Jesus is like really good, because he has the satin jacket and all that. Then back down to New York, where Harold and his buddy try desperately to reintegrate themselves into a world that now seems so foreign. I wouldn't say it was a 'feminist' movie, nor was it glorifying or lambasting the idea of brutality and war. I'd say it was simply about 'time' itself. As in 'time is fleeting', 'time heals all wounds', 'remember the good times and forget the bad'. As irrational and surreal as it was - long before Updike treatments. It's probably the one that comes off the most sane and human out of the lot. Kings, Heros, Madmen, and the wakes of their plunder and destruction. Queens, Innocent beauty, and youth. All but ripples on the shore that cannot stand up to natural currents and waves - only help contribute to them until the tides change. And that you can set your watch to. Brilliant film!


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