Frank Tashlin – Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)


Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? was a run-away success. The film is known as Mansfield’s “signature film.”

Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? is a 1957 American satiric comedy film starring Jayne Mansfield and Tony Randall, with Betsy Drake, Joan Blondell, John Williams, Henry Jones, Lili Gentle, Mickey Hargitay, and a cameo by Groucho Marx. The film is a satire on popular fan culture, Hollywood hype and the ad industry, which was making millions of dollars off the growing revenue from television ads. The film also takes aim at television and the damage it was doing to movie attendance in the 1950s.

It was produced and directed by Frank Tashlin, who also wrote the largely original screenplay, utilizing little more than the title and the character of Rita Marlowe from the successful Broadway play Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? by George Axelrod. The play had run from 1955 to 1956 and also starred Mansfield as Rita. Continue reading

Frank Tashlin – The Girl Can’t Help It (1956)


The Alphabet Murders is a 1965 British detective film based on the novel The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie, starring Tony Randall as Hercule Poirot. The part of Poirot had originally been intended for Zero Mostel but the film was delayed because Agatha Christie objected to the script. The film varies significantly from the novel and emphasises comedy. Continue reading

Frank Tashlin – Artists and Models (1955)


Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader wrote:

The best Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis movie (1955) is also Frank Tashlin’s best feature at Paramount, a satire about the comic book craze with explosive uses of color and VistaVision, better-than-average songs, and much-better-than-average costars, especially Dorothy Malone and Shirley MacLaine (the latter giving Lewis a run for his money in terms of goofy mugging). Martin and Malone are comic book artists, MacLaine is a model for the Bat Lady, and Lewis is a deranged fan whose dreams wind up inspiring (or is it duplicating?) comic book stories and the coded messages of communist spies—or something like that. Five cowriters are credited along with Tashlin, but the stylistic exuberance is seamless, and this film eventually wound up providing the inspirational spark for Jacques Rivette’s late, great New Wave extravaganza Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974). With Eva Gabor and Anita Ekberg. 109 min. Continue reading