Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
(Eureka/Masters of Cinema)
Frank Tashlin’s wacky 1957 advertising world romp has got to be a contender for the fastest comedy ever made. Tashlin, the Hollywood animator-turned-filmmaker, even gets in a gag before the film’s opening credits with his leading man Tony Randall performing a one-man band rendition of the 20th Century Fox fanfare. Thereafter, the jokes come fast and dumb as we follow weedy Randall (no Don Draper he) on his trip to fame and fortune aided by Jayne Mansfield’s blonde bombshell, who is (sorry) gagging to be taken seriously as an actress. It’s loosely based on George Axelrod’s stage play satirising the desire for and consequences of success (quite shamelessly targeting Marilyn Monroe), and in Tashlin’s hands it becomes a demented live action cartoon in which every prop, performer and (Cinemascope) panorama is reduced (or upped) to a visual joke. Think Mad Mad Mad Mad Men. A plethora of extras include intro by Joe Dante, Jayne Mansfield promotional short, essay booklet written by Edinburgh film writer David Cairns.