Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


IT SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU (1954). Director: George Cukor. Screenplay by Garson Kanin.

Recently fired from her job, Gladys Clover (Judy Holliday), who wants to be somebody, decides to use her limited resources to put her name in big letters on a billboard in Herald Square. Her new friend Peter (Jack Lemmon, who was introduced in this film) is appalled that she's wasting her money on an idea that has no real purpose. Indeed, Gladys is not only a moron, but she is so untalented that she can't even read off cue [or "idiot"] cards without sounding mentally deficient. Peter Lawford plays a Madison Avenue man who tries to romance Gladys even as he wants to buy away her advertising space. After much tedium and not a single real laugh, we finally arrive at the movie's obvious point, when Gladys turns down an offer for the Army to name a plane after her. "It isn't just making a name," she says, "it's making a name stand for something." (Wise words for Paris Hilton and her ilk.) I don't believe for one minute that Gladys is really bright enough to come to such a conclusion (anymore than Paris Hilton is). Honestly, although I sat through this entire dull, annoying film I could have left the room at any point, shaved, cut my nails, made a few phone calls, had dinner and shopped, and come back and not missed a single moment of value. Lemmon occasionally overacts; Lawford is as pleasantly bland as ever. The problem with the casting of Holliday is that when you have a dopey-looking person playing a dope, it makes them twice as irritating. Possibly the worst film that Cukor and Kanin ever worked on.

Verdict: It Should NOT happen to you. *.

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