Jayne  Mansfield and Joan Blondell in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

Frank Tashlin | USA | 1957

Director: Frank Tashlin
Producer: Frank Tashlin
Screenplay: Frank Tashlin, from the play by George Axelrod
Cinematography: Joseph MacDonald
Editor: Hugh S Fowler
Music: Cyril J Mockridge
Tony Randall (Rockwell P Hunter)
Jayne Mansfield (Rita Marlowe)
Betsy Drake (Jenny Wells)
Joan Blondell (Violet)
John Williams (Irving La Salle Jr)
Henry Jones (Henry Rufus)
Lili Gentle (April Hunter)

Rating: Runtime: 93 minutes

Jayne Mansfield may have a larger than life reputation, but in this film, considered by many to be the quintessential Mansfield film, she reprises the role she played on Broadway to supremely winning effect. The film is now considered ahead of its time in satirising pop culture, the Hollywood hype machine and TV advertising.

Our hero is Tony Randell as Rockwell P. Hunter of the film’s title, a low-level advertising agency exec who strikes up a plan to increase sales of the new “Stay-Put” lipstick line by securing the services of Hollywood actress Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield) to be the new spokesperson. However he finds himself the centre of attention as Rita pretends that Rock is her newest beau (in order to make her current boyfriend jealous) and comic shenanigans ensue. Within this is an overt critique of the shallowness of the advertising industry and the way it makes us worship images over the efficacy of the products being sold. Throw in one of the stars of Hollywood’s pre-Hays code era, Joan Blondell, as Rita’s secretary and a cameo from the great Groucho Marx and we have a film which is both very funny and sharply caustic. A case of be careful of the success you wish for, because it may well come true.

“Savage as it is, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? remains, paradoxically, among Tashlin’s most joyous works. Continuously vibrating with comic energy, the Cinemascope screen is a playpen of jubilant brassiness, compounded by superb performances”
Fernando F. Croce And Jake Cole, Slant Magazine


May 29 2023


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