Cult Movies 101- Episode 28: The Happy Hooker Goes To Hollywood

hhhAs far as exploitation cinema goes, “The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood” is a fictional take on the making of the original “Happy Hooker” film, which featured Lynn Redgrave. The original was a sincere attempt at to capitalize on Xaviera Hollander’s (a real-life happy hooker) novel. Then came the abysmal “The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington,” which featured Joey Heatherton and George Hamilton. Those two sequels led to the evolution of this bizarre sex comedy from Cannon Films.

It is quite amusing that the actresses that played Hollander don’t resemble her in the least.

The plot was an attempt to make the statement that the worlds of hookers and movie producers are not that far apart. Hollander is fresh off the success of writing her novel, one that a studio closely resembling Warner Bros. wants to buy the rights to. They have three guys on the case, but Adam West believes he can seduce her into handing over the rights.

Are you done laughing yet?

Well, the film eventually goes into production independently, and Hollander uses her body to produce the movie without paying for anything – no man seems to be able to say no to Hollander and her lovely women. This creates a totally fun and wild ride into the comedy world.

The sensual brunette Martine Beswick takes over the role of Hollander, and gives a better performance than anyone in the entire picture. Her character is set up early in the picture when she is with a shy cop (the great Dick Miller) and understands that he is a decent person. She treats him as if he were a rare breed, and we see a gentle side to this heroine. Also, Beswick ignites the screen with her raw sexual energy, and that draws you into this wildly outrageous film.

Sadly, the same can’t be said for her leading man. It honestly seems that West was trying to convince the world that he could be a leading man, and is severely miscast. All that comes out of his performance is unintentional campy humor as he walks around believing that he is God’s gift to the opposite sex.

To add insult to injury, West uses terms such as “bouncy, bouncy,” and runs around a hotel room in drag. The film also shows an unusual amount of West’s rear-end.

Also appearing in this picture directly after having a severe stroke is Phil Silvers. Silvers’ performance is far from his potential, and is part of a sad period that produced cheap exploitation movies. (For another example, see “The Chicken Chronicles” with Steve Guttenberg).

The cast is rounded out by Jack Lemmon’s son, Chris Lemmon. Now, think about it – his father worked on classics such as “Tribute” and “Missing” around this time, and he has to explain to his dad that he is working on “The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood.” However, the younger Lemmon is not a bad actor, and far exceeds co-stars West and Silvers.

The film, which was produced by the “geniuses” at Cannon, is the type of movie that you would find on late-night cable, and contains enough adult situations to gain the interest of even a casual lover of the B-movie universe.

This is a low-budget mess that contains a huge amount of kitschy fun, and is a great reminder of why the world of cult cinema is such a joy. While on the surface it appears to be a pointless excuse for a film, it balances that with not having a real message. Expect nothing from this movie, and you will easily have a blast.

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I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges. On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become. Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges.

On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become.

Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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