Movie Mirrors Index

It Should Happen to You

(1954 b 83')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Written by Garson Kanin, a model rents a billboard for her name and becomes successful while a documentary filmmaker falls in love with her.

         Pete Sheppard (Jack Lemmon) is taking motion pictures in Central Park and sees Gladys Glover (Judy Holiday) walking without shoes. She bothers a man, and he complains. Pete rescues her, and they converse. She lost her job modeling girdles. She saved up $1,000 to make a name for herself in New York. He asks for her address and kisses her hand.

         Gladys sees a billboard and imagines her name on it. She goes to the advertising company and talks to Entrikin (Vaughn Taylor). She rents it for three months for $630. She watches her name being painted and corrects the spelling.

         Evan Adams III (Peter Lawford) tells Entrikin that the Adams Soap Company always rents that space in the summer. Gladys comes, and Entrikin tells her they will pay her an extra $500 for the space; but she says no. Evan asks what she would accept, but she does not like being hollered at and leaves.

         Gladys finds that Pete has rented a room in her building. He shows her his room, and she invites him for dinner. The manager Mrs. Riker (Connie Gilchrist) tells Gladys that Adams called. She calls him and agrees to go out with him. She tells Pete she is busy and kisses him in gratitude.

         Evan picks her up in a sports-car. She makes sure that he sees her sign on Columbus Circle. He suggests they share the sign. He takes her dancing, and she sees famous people. He follows her to her room, and Pete sees them. Evan kisses her and goes. Pete is upset about her sign, and they argue.

         Gladys meets with Evan, Entrikin, and businessmen. Evan offers her two signs, but she asks for six locations.

         Pete has lunch with Gladys in her room. He says most people like privacy, but she wants to be known. He says it is getting in their way, and he looks forward to the bubble bursting.

         Gladys takes Pete to see a sign. She buys towels, and the saleslady and others ask for her autograph.

         In a bar Pete plays piano, and she says she has only three days more. On TV Brod Clinton (Michael O’Shea) says that Gladys Glover is the new Kilroy. She calls him, and he offers to introduce her around. Brod asks about Pete and says there is a program where a couple can get married. Brod gets her on a TV show, and she reads off a card. Then she obeys a gesture to speed up. Pete is in the audience and is perturbed. At a bar Pete and Mrs. Riker watch Gladys on a panel show with Wendy Barrie, Constance Bennett, Ilka Chase, and Dr. Manning (Melville Cooper).

         Evan says they started the promotion and should benefit from it. He suggests the “average American girl” to endorse things. Gladys in a bubble bath endorses soap, and she does other photo shoots. In his car Evan tells her about a cross-country tour. She goes in to her apartment, and Pete admires Evan’s car. Pete and Evan talk about Gladys. Pete goes to her apartment, and she says she cannot go with him to his family. She says she has business with Evan and goes to his home. She drinks champagne, and Evan kisses her. She spills champagne on him. He asks her about Pete and kisses her again. He admits he is lonesome. She takes off her shoes so she can think and says she has to go. She says he did not want to have a conference and leaves.

         Gladys appears in many ads. At home she finds a note and watches Pete’s film “Goodbye to Gladys.” He says he cannot compete with Evan, but he loves her. She goes to Pete’s room and finds another man there. Brod has Gladys pose in padding to look large, and she objects. Then she poses for the slim after shot. In a car with Brod she tries to memorize a speech to the military air transport service. She makes her speech, and the men kiss her. She thinks of Pete and runs off. Brod says he will drop her, and she says it is all over. She says a name has to stand for something. They go back to finish the event. She says they should not name a plane after her.

         In a cage at the zoo Pete asks people to watch him as if he were a chimp. People leave, and he sees a sign written in the sky to call Gladys.

         In the final scene Pete and Gladys sing together in a car and ignore a billboard for rent.

         This comedy satirizes the commercial society that creates celebrities and uses them to sell products while documentary filmmaking is ignored. A rich man who is handsome symbolizes the seduction of such values.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

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