Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Directed by Frank Tashlin
Written by Frank Tashlin from a play by George Axelrod
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
First viewing/Netflix rental
This broad Technicolor satire of mass media and pop culture works better for me than some other cartoony entries of the late 50’s.
Tony Randall plays both himself, in asides to the audience, and Rockwell Hunter, an ad writer for Stay-Put lipstick. He works hard to raise his teenage niece April and to earn enough to marry his fiancee Jenny (Betsy Drake). The agency is in danger of losing the lipstick account and Rock fears for his job.
April is President of the Rita Marlowe fan club. When Rita (Jayne Mansfield) arrives in town to announce to a mob of reporters that she seeks “seclusion”, April overhears her give her address to a driver. Rock gets a brainstorm. He will convince Rita to endorse Stay-Put.
Rita has problems of her own. Her body-builder boyfriend (Micky Haggerty, Jayne’s real-life husband) has been seen with another blonde. When he calls, she tells him she is drinking champagne with a new man. But there is no man in the room and when Rock shows up she grabs him as her pretend paramour. The two continue the charade for several days and Rock gets the endorsement and climbs the corporate ladder. Naturally, all this does not go over well with Jenny. With Joan Blondelle as Rita’s companion and a surprise cameo by Groucho Marx.
For me, the best parts of this were the TV spoofs, of which there are many. It’s all light and fun and goes down very easily. Mansfield was a good comedienne along with her other assets and I always like Tony Randall.
Trailers from Hell