This week’s Summertime Movietime pick is It Should Happen to You, starring Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon in his first role, and Peter Lawford. I DVRed this movie about 3 to 4 weeks ago and the only reason I did this was because it was part of TCM’s The Essentials. The Essentials is a series on TCM hosted by Peter Bogdanovich and his ever present ascot. This series picks movies that every classic movie fan should see, even though you may have never heard of them. Well, I try to watch all that they choose and this was one of the best. DISH had this movie rated at 3 stars, but I believe it is much much better than that.
This movie is very appropriate for this era of reality TV mania. Judy Holliday’s character, Gladys Glover, is getting discouraged with New York City and her failure to become a big name and is thinking of going back home. She runs into Pete Sheppard, Jack Lemmon, who is a documentary filmmaker in the park. Lemmon gives her some advice and she takes it to an extreme that would seem to fit in with the thinking of some of the fame craving people of today. Gladys rents a huge billboard and puts her name on it. As the movie goes on, she gets more billboards through different means, ends up on reality TV shows of that time period, and becomes a household name. She realizes later that this might not be all it is cracked up to be.
Jack Lemmon is excellent as her boyfriend (?) who is against the whole thing and tries to make her see this, though very unsuccessfully. This is his debut movie and as always he does not disappoint. Judy Holliday is an actress I had never heard of and was quite surprised at how great she was in this movie. She makes the movie. She is a smart ditz, basically. There is a lot of great dialogue and double talk, I actually laughed out loud quite a few times. It was sad to know that Ms. Holliday died just a few years later of cancer and never quite gained the career that she looked to deserve after this movie.
It Should Happen to You is a movie that you never hear about. I had never heard of it. It may be why I enjoyed it so much, I had no expectations for this film and it blew me away. It was a box office failure when it came out in 1954 and the director, George Cuckor, blamed this on the somewhat pedestrian title. Whatever the case it is a much underrated movie and will be enjoyed by any who decided to give it a chance.