Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
- Tony Randall as Rock Hunter
- Jayne Mansfield as Rita Marlowe
- Betsy Drake as Jenny Wells
- Joan Blondell as Vi
- Henry Jones as Henry Rufus
- John Williams as Irving La Salle Jr.
- Lili Gentle as April Hunter
- Mickey Hargitay as Bobo Branigansky
A riotously funny satire on the advertising agency of the 50’s featuring the colourful direction of Frank Tashlin, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? engages with over the top humour and the comedic talents of Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield. Some of the barbs may not be as witty as they once were, but most of them come off well in this lampooning of celebrity hype, movie stars and advertising. Along with his previous satiric venture The Girl Can’t Help It with Jayne Mansfield, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is a success for Frank Tashlin.
Rockwell Hunter, commonly called Rock, is a writer for TV commercials at a prestigious agency on Madison Avenue. Unfortunately for him, he isn’t high up on the success as some of his superiors. The company is about to lose the account for the lucrative ‘Stay-Put Lipstick’. With his job on the line, the hapless Rock concocts a plan to keep them in business. He sees the curvaceous and ubiquitous actress Rita Marlowe, the girl with the ‘Oh so kissable lips’ and decides she may be the key to securing the account. Little does Rock realise what he is letting himself in for. Rita wants to make her ex boyfriend and muscle man Bobo jealous after he gave her the brush off, and Rock provides the perfect opportunity for this by walking unaware into the plan. Soon Rock is snapped up by the press as Rita’s new lover and he is forced to play along with this charade in order for Rita to agree to the lipstick deal. This of course has a bad effect on his relationship with his fiancée Jenny, who feels slighted by this attention to his so-called relationship with the glamorous Rita. Will Rock begin to see that fame doesn’t bring happiness? All will be revealed in this comic satire on the nature of celebrity and the mad world of advertising.
Frank Tashlin brings a comic glee to the proceedings and lampoons the outrageously colourful world of media with gaudy colours and over the top set designs. The witty and acerbic script pokes fun at celebrity culture and the price of fame with exaggerated moments of hilarious humour, the most funny being Rock chased by female fans and barely managing to get away. Some of the quips don’t quite have the zing that they once had, but the use of lampooning and mocking of Hollywood is still enjoyable to watch. A jaunty music score encapsulates the sarcastic view of stardom with an exuberance that is hard to resist.
Tony Randall is a joy to watch as the hapless title character, caught up in this hilarious situations because of his ambition. Jayne Mansfield delivers a funny performance by sending up her blonde bombshell image to the max with outrageous glee. With her squeaky voice, outrageous get ups and comic timing, she is a standout in a talented cast. Betsy Drake is quietly effective as Rock’s neglected fiancée, while Joan Blondell is on wise-cracking form as Rita’s right hand woman. Henry Jones and John Williams contribute humour as two of Rock’s co-workers who cajole him into the scheme to get Rita’s signature. Lili Gentle is gushing and adoring as Rock’s niece who idolizes Rita Marlowe and Mickey Hargitay(Mansfield’s then boyfriend and later husband) is a hoot in the small role of the muscle man who split up with Rita and accidentally spills the gossip of the ‘relationship’ between Rock and Rita.
Outrageous and satiric, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter is a humorous look at the media with colourful direction and comic performances.