Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

In writer/director Frank Tashlin's CinemaScopic media satire about the excesses of 50s American pop-culture, including its consumerism, morals, movies, celebrity, Marilyn Monroe, Freudian analysis, advertising, sex, and the growing power of television:

  • the opening title credits - a satire on TV commercials that were demonstrated by ad pitch statements for defective products --- a refrigerator with slip-easy, pop-up, finger-touch ice trays ("No matter how many lushes you know, with the slip-easy, pop-up, finger-touch ice trays, you have enough ice cubes for all"), non-foaming head-free, heavenly-brewed Shelton's Beer ("Brewed crystal clear from the streams deep in the forest swamps. You'll be way ahead with Shelton's Beer. There is no head on Shelton's Beer. No foam, just beer"), destructive yet magical Tres Chic hair shampoo ("Do you want to say goodbye to dull, drab hair?...You'll see what Tres Chic can do to your hair!"), the Handy Dandy Dandy electric shaver that couldn't handle a thick beard (but could "shave the fungus off an overripe peach"), the energy of Crunchie Crispies breakfast food ("Each little Crunchie contains energy, contains pep for your growing youngsters, builds strong legs so that when they're older, they can stand the long waits in the unemployment lines. Listen to the energy. It snaps, it crunches"), Jolly Jess' promotion of Frank's Vacuum-Packed Peanut Butter (that stuck his mouth together), Wow washing detergent made of fallout (an "exclusive patented ingredient - Wow is gentle to your hands. It may be a little rough on your fingernails, but with a clean kitchen you won't have to scratch yourself"), a Rambunctious Rupert car salesman selling bargain automobiles ("Take the car away and drive it off the lot. No money down, no collateral. Just leave your wife with Rambunctious Rupert"), and an Easy Clean washing machine that wouldn't release the clothes for a housewife ("...with six dirty children and a big, filthy can imagine how important an Easy Clean washing machine can be. It not only Easy Cleans those dirty, filthy clothes, but it's so gentle on each garment, so gentle that it makes wash day a day to remember - You won't forget wash day...")
  • the character of Madison Ave. ad-commercial copy writer Rockwell P. Hunter (Tony Randall) for the La Salle Jr. Raskin, Pooley & Crocket ad agency, who found success after recruiting buxom Hollywood movie starlet Rita Marlowe (Jayne Mansfield) (a parody on Marilyn Monroe) to endorse his company's product: Stay-Put lipstick ("For those oh-so-kissable lips!")
  • Rockwell's publicity-stunt pretension that he was Rita's lover - dubbed Lover Doll, even though he alienated his office secretary-fiancee Jenny Wells (Betsy Drake), and was chased by hordes of hysterical teenaged fan club girls
  • the musical performance of the film's mantra - the song: "You've Got it Made"; as Rockwell wildly gyrated with Rita, he told her: "This music brings out the Belafonte in me, Miss Marlowe" and then reassured her: "I'm the same Lover Doll I've always been, honest"
  • the many sexual innuendos and double entendres - such as popcorn popping in the pocket of Lover Doll when Rita (draped in a pink bathrobe) hugged him as he spoke on the phone and noted: "Miss Marlowe is the titular head of the company"
  • ex-company president Irving La Salle Jr.'s (John Williams) warning about success: "Success will fit you like a shroud"
  • the abrupt intermission break in the film (breaking the fourth wall), when Hunter emerged from behind a curtain and announced: "Ladies and gentlemen. This break in our motion picture is made out of respect for the TV fans in our audience who are accustomed to constant interruptions in their programs for messages from sponsors. We want all you TV fans to feel at home, and not forget the thrill you get watching television on your big, 21-inch screens. I have a 21 inch screen myself, and it's loads of fun" - suddenly, the image shrank to the standard small, black and white TV view (that was malfunctioning with blipping, skewing, blurring, bad reception snow, etc.): "TV is a remarkable invention. Where did you go? Oh, there you are! Hi, as I was saying, TV is a remarkable invention. You can sit there in your easy chair with your shoes off and a can of beer watching that wonderful, clear picture coming into your home bringing culture and entertainment to you and your family. Of course, the great thing about TV is that you see things live at the moment they're happening, like old movies made 30 years ago" - and as abruptly, the view transformed back into CinemaScopic color
  • the ending cameo appearance of Rita's long lost love George Schmidlap (an uncredited Groucho Marx), and the earlier wise advice given to Rita (while lounging in her bubble bath reading Peyton Place) by her secretary Vivian "Vi" (Joan Blondell) about the first real love of her life: ("You've got to stop going overboard for every man who makes you tingle. First there was that English actor who wore the sunglass monocle, and then the Academy Award winner who had you polishing his Oscar. Can't think of the others. And there was Bobo and then Rocky. And all because you can't forget George Schmidlap. What you need is a psychiatrist or a do-it-yourself couch... I've been quiet enough. His name is George Schmidlap - he's the actor who awarded you first prize in the Miss Florida Grapefruit contest, and he's the one you can't forget and never will, so why do you keep pickin' up with these schnooks - always tryin' to turn them into unreasonable facsimiles of George? Don't you realize you can never fall in love again like you did with George?")


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