The Happy Hooker chronicles the evolution of Xaviera Hollander
from a Dutch bride-to-be to a notorious New York madam. Hollander is
a real person and, for those of you scoring at home, the real Xaviera is now
64, married, and operating a B&B in Holland.
begins with Xaviera and her girls being booked, then her story is
told in flashback, while they are in a tank with a group of black
streetwalkers. Xaviera moved to New York to marry, but discovered that her
intended was a hopeless mamma's boy. She took a job in an embassy
that she was terrible at, and decided to screw anything that
appealed to her, It wasn't long before she figured out that there
was a living in that, but when a cop ripped her off for all of her
money, she joined a regular house. She ended up buying it.
The subject called for sex and nudity, and there was almost none.
Believe it or not, this film wasn't even sexy enough for Roger
Ebert. The only nudity comes from Anita Morris who, as one of
Xaviera's girls, shows her breasts in two scenes. In the first, she
is turned into an ice cream sundae; in the second, she gets a
whipped cream wedding dress, then has it washed off with champagne.
Even if one ignores the inappropriate timidity of the erotic
content, The Happy Hooker is not a good movie. It is not exactly a
"girl makes good" story, and doesn't really introduce the Xaviera
Hollander who wrote a sex advice column for Penthouse and had to
live in Canada because she was wanted in the US. Lynn Redgrave, in
the title role, was one part cute, one part horny, and eight parts
Given the lack of both erotic content and commercial appeal,
neither the critics nor audiences appreciated it. The slow-paced film has minor interest only as a
time capsule and for the very occasional humorous moment.
Xaviera Hollander, played by Joey
Heatherton this time, has moved to Hollywood, presumably
as a result of the New York bust chronicled in the first Happy Hooker
is writing an advice column to supplement her brothel income.
result of a congressional sex scandal, she is subpoenaed to testify at a
senate witch-hunt where she is supposed to be burned at the stake to
take national attention away from the scandalous senators. Her testimony pleases the gallery and angers the holier-than-thou
senators, especially when she starts revealing their dealings with her girls.
She also has an episode with a CIA agent (Billy Barty) and
an oil sheik.
There is plenty of nudity this time, but the film
is terribly dated and mostly silly. It emptied all of the B
performers out of the unemployment lines, including Billy Barty,
George Hamilton, Rip Taylor, Harold "Odd Job" Sakata, Larry Storch,
Jack Carter, Ray Walston, Joe E. Ross, and many others. I am almost
embarrassed to admit that I got a laugh or two, because this film is
bad enough to work for MST3K if they did R-rated material.
On the other hand, the new widescreen transfer is
very nice and the sound is not bad. All in all, MGM did a good job
on this bad movie, which is the best of the three films, given the
most nudity and some camp value.
Note by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski):
This film pretty much
marked the end of Joey Heatherton's movie career. She would not be seen again for
about a decade. About seven years after this film was made I had a
rather unpleasant encounter with her in the piano bar at The Sign of
the Dove in New York. She was hitting on me and would not take no
for an answer, and kept getting more and more irate. I thought I
would be in trouble because - well, because she's somebody and I'm
not - but it turns out that picking fights and acting psychotic in
public was pretty much "business as usual" with her, and she was
quietly escorted out.
I know it sounds kind of ridiculous that a former bombshell was
hitting on me, but you'd understand if you saw her then. She was
forty years old, looked anorexic and was reputed to have been a
major cokehead for years. Not long after that incident, she was
charged with cocaine possession and with stabbing her drummer in the hand with a steak knife. (The charges were dropped, if I recall
correctly.) I guess she eventually cleaned up because she later did a
Playboy layout when she was in her mid fifties.
The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood
It is somehow appropriate that the third and last
of this trilogy was produced by Golan and Globus, and for the
record, it is a prequel. Xaviera, this time played by Martine
Beswick, has written a book called The Happy Hooker and movie mogul
Sgt. Bilko (Phil Silvers) wants to option the rights because he is
sure it will be a success. The final straw for Xaviera with the
studio was when Batman (Adam West) seduced, then trashed her.
Bilko's staff is incompetent, other than his grandson, who ends up
making his own deal with Xaviera to make an indie film. Of course
they need a little cash, but that is not an insurmountable problem
when you have an entire stable of hookers working for you. Sgt.
Bilko barks a lot and fights back, but clearly no established studio
is a match for a bunch of hookers when it comes to moviemaking.
Bilko was not up to par, and Batman was not at
all good, but the women were attractive, and nobody took the film
If they had, I would have to question their sanity.