Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1957. Story and Screenplay by Frank Tashlin, based on the play by George Axelrod. Cinematography by Joseph MacDonald. Produced by Frank Tashlin. Music by Cyril J. Mockridge. Production Design by Leland Fuller, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Charles Le Maire. Film Editing by Hugh S. Fowler.
The rise of consumer culture in post-war America and the increased obsession with celebrity that predominates the rest of the century are all predicted with perfect accuracy in this hilarious adaptation of the Broadway play. Tony Randall is terrific as the low-level advertising agency employee who comes up with the brilliant idea of getting a famous sex-symbol movie star (Jayne Mansfield at her most luscious) to be the spokesperson for a brand of lipstick. When she agrees, he begins working with her but suddenly finds himself a national romantic figure when they are mistaken for a couple and he becomes about as big a celebrity as she is. Naturally, this complicates things for him and his fiancée, not to mention confusing his niece who runs Mansfield’s fan club. The gorgeous Cinemascope and Mansfield’s bountiful charms (which include some terrific comedic timing) make for a genuine bon-bon of an experience, but at the centre of it is the bitter prediction that the future of society, with its emphasis on fame over accomplishment, is doomed. Reality TV has only proven this to be true in the years since.
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Tony Randall)