© 1957 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

Last August I finally got around to seeing the Jayne Mansfield flick The Girl Can’t Help It, which had been on my to-watch list for years. It was an empty, completely frivolous Technicolor spectacle featuring a mere wisp of a plot and a bunch of early rock and roll numbers thrown in for very little reason. But it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t expecting anything less (or more) or any other Jayne Mansfield vehicle.

But Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is a much better film. It is based on a stage play by George Axelrod, who also penned The Seven Year Itch, and so it actually has some funny lines and situations. And while Tom Ewell is fine in The Girl Can’t Help It, he is no Tony Randall, who is quite funny in this. Although Jaynie is playing a very one-dimensional version of her own movie persona, she at least is given a high-pitched quirky squeal that becomes a kind of catch phrase in the film. Betsy Drake (Mrs. Cary Grant at the time) is funny and cutie as the secretary who is planning to marry her advertising executive boss until Rita Marlowe (Mansfield) steals him away as part of a publicity stunt.

The TV commercial parodies that open the film are fun, but endless references to TV, radio, and the real Jayne Mansfield get a tiresome before long.

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