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The Happy Ending
Directed by Richard Brooks
Written by Richard Brooks
Starring Jean Simmons
John Forsythe
Shirley Jones
Lloyd Bridges
Teresa Wright
Dick Shawn
Nanette Fabray
Bobby Darin
Tina Louise
Kathy Fields
Karen Steele
Music by Michel Legrand
Cinematography Conrad L. Hall
Editing by George Grenville
Distributed by United Artists

The Happy Ending is a 1969 film which tells the story of a repressed housewife who longs for liberation from her marriage.

Synopsis

1953 - and through the course of a Colorado autumn and winter, Mary Spencer (Jean Simmons), and Fred Wilson, (John Forsythe), lead an idyllic existence. Mary finishes college early to marry Fred and their perfect wedding mirrors the happy endings of the films Mary loves.

1969 - a suburban house in Denver, Colorado. It is the Wilson's 16th wedding anniversary. On his way to work Fred, a successful tax consultant, tells their maid Agnes (Nanette Fabray), that he has found some vodka hidden in Mary's wardrobe and asks her to keep an eye on his wife. Agnes sees Mary set off for the beauty parlour. At an airline office, however, Mary buys a one-way ticket to Nassau, Bahamas. On the flight she recalls the horrors of last year's anniversary party, when Fred had drunk too much and flirted with a blond divorcee and she too had been driven to the bottle and Casablanca, on the television. It somehow sparked a fight with her husband. At a stop-over she calls home where this years anniversary party has been a different sort of disaster. Her daughter, (Kathy Fields), is scared by the call - it reminds her of the time she had found her mother unconscious after an overdose.

En route for Nassau, Mary meets Flo, (Shirley Jones), an old college friend she has not seen since 1953. While Mary settled down to married life, Flo has been the mistress of a series of married men. She is on her way to Nassau, Bahamas to meet her latest, Sam,(Lloyd Bridges). When Mary tells her she has had to get away from Fred, Flo promises to look after her. In Nassau Mary enjoys the life of sun and sand and the long, empty stretches of beach. One evening , at a casino, Mary becomes the object of Franco's, (Bobby Darin's),attention. A hustler from Los Angeles who is down on his luck, Franco mistakenly assumes the beautiful woman is also a very wealthy woman. With a fake Italian accent he fools Mary into thinking he is a journalist who writes about film stars. She agrees to go to 'his' boat, but Franco quickly loses interest when it transpires Mary is not that wealthy, and confesses his fakery. Walking into the ocean Mary recalls the occasion of her suicide attempt - she had returned from having a face lift to find that Fred was in Reno with a girl. Her daughter Marge had found her and she had been rushed to hospital. Out of hospital her drinking had resumed, she had spent reckless amounts of money, and crashed her car whilst drunk.

Now, in Nassau, Sam asks Flo to marry him, and she agrees. Mary flies back home. Agnes meets her and helps her move into rooms she has rented away from Fred and Marge. She takes a job and enrolls in night classes at the University. It is here that Fred finds her, one evening. "What went wrong?" he asks. "All our friends are married, and they're happy."

The film was rated 'M' certificate, and has a running time of 117 minutes.

It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role, (Jean Simmons) and Best Music, Song (Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman, for "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?").

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