The Happy Hooker Trilogy (various dates) from Tuna

The Happy Hooker


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.

The film 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 ruthless businesswoman.

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.




The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington


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 movie, and is writing an advice column to supplement her brothel income.

As a 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 seriously.

Thank God.

If they had, I would have to question their sanity.




  • Three films
  • Widescreen anamorphic


Hooker 1: Anita Morris exposes her breasts. (See the main commentary for details.)

Washington: There is almost constant breast exposure from Bonnie Large, Marilyn Joi, Cisse Cameron, Raven De La Croix, Linda Gildersleeve, Louisa Moritz, Dana Baker, Pamela Zinzer, Dawn Clark and some unknowns.

Hollywood: Martine Beswick shows breasts and buns. Adam West also shows buns jumping into the pool with her. Susan Kiger, K. C. Winkler, and Tanya Boyd show breasts, as do several unknowns.

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, these films are all Ds on our scale, maybe a D+ for the middle one which has camp value and lots of nudity, but the entire package could conceivably be called a C-, a very tentative recommendation for a niche audience, based on excellent widescreen transfers of long-neglected films offered at an economical price. (The best price at press time was less than twelve bucks for all three films.)

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