Girl Happy


1h 36m 1965
Girl Happy

Brief Synopsis

A rock singer is hired to chaperone a gangster's daughter in Fort Lauderdale.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 14 Apr 1965
Production Company
Euterpe, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

After completing their engagement at a Chicago nightclub, Rusty Wells and his combo plan to spend Easter week in Fort Lauderdale entertaining college students. Big Frank, the owner of the nightclub, decides to waive his option to hold the group in Chicago when he learns that his daughter Valerie plans to vacation in Fort Lauderdale. He sends the group to Florida with the understanding that they keep a close watch on his daughter. While in Fort Lauderdale, Rusty and the combo find that most of their time is devoted to keeping Valerie out of trouble. To relieve the other band members of their commitment to Big Frank, Rusty offers to assume responsibility for her. The two are happy until Valerie learns of Rusty's bargain with her father, whereupon she goes on a wild drinking spree and ends up in jail. Her father posts bail for her, and soon all is forgiven as Valerie and Rusty are reunited.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 14 Apr 1965
Production Company
Euterpe, Inc.
Distribution Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 36m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Metrocolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

Girl Happy


Fort Lauderdale has served as the background for countless beach party flicks but no film better captures the Spring Break atmosphere than Girl Happy (1965) which presents an almost surreal landscape of pristine beaches, classic sixties cars, and bikini-clad co-eds. And we wouldn't expect anything less from producer Joe Pasternak who perfected this formula with his trend-setting drive-in hit, Where the Boys Are (1960). The odd thing is, Girl Happy was filmed on the MGM back lot with no on-location shooting in Florida except for some exterior establishing shots.

In his eighteenth feature, Elvis Presley is cast as Rusty Wells, a rock 'n roll singer (no stretch there) who is hired by a Chicago mobster to play chaperone to his daughter Valerie (Shelley Fabares). In between fending off wild, wanton college girls and keeping Valerie out of trouble, Elvis finds time to perform numerous songs with his trusty combo at the local nightclub. Among these, you might recognize "Do the Clam," "Puppet on a String," "The Meanest Girl in Town," or "Cross My Heart and Hope to Die." Not exactly gold record material here but what is memorable is the "witty" dialogue. Girl Happy is wall to wall with quotable lines like "The beach is crowded today" followed by the zinger "Not as crowded as that bathing suit" or a wry observation like "Not much upstairs, but what a staircase." The film is also your only chance to see Elvis in drag (for one brief scene that takes place in a women's prison cell - don't ask me to explain it here).

During the filming of Girl Happy, Elvis passed the time between takes goofing off with his entourage and supporting cast member Gary Crosby, son of Bing. Ann-Margret frequently dropped by to see her former co-star from Viva Las Vegas (1964) but the visitor who attracted the most attention was Elvis fan Lynda Bird Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson, who showed up at the set one day surrounded by secret service men wearing dark sunglasses and blank expressions.

Girl Happy producer Joe Pasternak was a Hungarian immigrant who had worked his way up from waiting tables at the Paramount studios commissary to saving Universal Studios from bankruptcy with a series of hugely successful Deanna Durbin musicals. He moved to MGM in the forties but was an independent producer by the time he pitched Girl Happy to the studio as an Elvis vehicle. The low-budget film - shot on a six-week schedule - was a financial success and Pasternak would team with the King on one more picture, Speedway (1968), before retiring in 1968 due to Parkinson's disease.

Producer: Joe Pasternak
Director: Boris Sagal
Screenplay: Harvey Bullock, R.S. Allen
Cinematography: Philip H. Lathrop
Film Editing: Rita Roland
Original Music: George E. Stoll
Cast: Elvis Presley (Rusty Wells), Shelley Fabares (Valerie Frank), Harold J. Stone (Big Frank), Gary Crosby (Andy), Joby Baker (Wilbur), Nita Talbot (Sunny Daze), Mary Ann Mobley (Deena Shepherd), Jackie Coogan (Sgt. Benson), Chris Noel (Betsy), Jimmy Hawkins (Doc).
C-95m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning.

by Jeff Stafford
Girl Happy

Girl Happy

Fort Lauderdale has served as the background for countless beach party flicks but no film better captures the Spring Break atmosphere than Girl Happy (1965) which presents an almost surreal landscape of pristine beaches, classic sixties cars, and bikini-clad co-eds. And we wouldn't expect anything less from producer Joe Pasternak who perfected this formula with his trend-setting drive-in hit, Where the Boys Are (1960). The odd thing is, Girl Happy was filmed on the MGM back lot with no on-location shooting in Florida except for some exterior establishing shots. In his eighteenth feature, Elvis Presley is cast as Rusty Wells, a rock 'n roll singer (no stretch there) who is hired by a Chicago mobster to play chaperone to his daughter Valerie (Shelley Fabares). In between fending off wild, wanton college girls and keeping Valerie out of trouble, Elvis finds time to perform numerous songs with his trusty combo at the local nightclub. Among these, you might recognize "Do the Clam," "Puppet on a String," "The Meanest Girl in Town," or "Cross My Heart and Hope to Die." Not exactly gold record material here but what is memorable is the "witty" dialogue. Girl Happy is wall to wall with quotable lines like "The beach is crowded today" followed by the zinger "Not as crowded as that bathing suit" or a wry observation like "Not much upstairs, but what a staircase." The film is also your only chance to see Elvis in drag (for one brief scene that takes place in a women's prison cell - don't ask me to explain it here). During the filming of Girl Happy, Elvis passed the time between takes goofing off with his entourage and supporting cast member Gary Crosby, son of Bing. Ann-Margret frequently dropped by to see her former co-star from Viva Las Vegas (1964) but the visitor who attracted the most attention was Elvis fan Lynda Bird Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson, who showed up at the set one day surrounded by secret service men wearing dark sunglasses and blank expressions. Girl Happy producer Joe Pasternak was a Hungarian immigrant who had worked his way up from waiting tables at the Paramount studios commissary to saving Universal Studios from bankruptcy with a series of hugely successful Deanna Durbin musicals. He moved to MGM in the forties but was an independent producer by the time he pitched Girl Happy to the studio as an Elvis vehicle. The low-budget film - shot on a six-week schedule - was a financial success and Pasternak would team with the King on one more picture, Speedway (1968), before retiring in 1968 due to Parkinson's disease. Producer: Joe Pasternak Director: Boris Sagal Screenplay: Harvey Bullock, R.S. Allen Cinematography: Philip H. Lathrop Film Editing: Rita Roland Original Music: George E. Stoll Cast: Elvis Presley (Rusty Wells), Shelley Fabares (Valerie Frank), Harold J. Stone (Big Frank), Gary Crosby (Andy), Joby Baker (Wilbur), Nita Talbot (Sunny Daze), Mary Ann Mobley (Deena Shepherd), Jackie Coogan (Sgt. Benson), Chris Noel (Betsy), Jimmy Hawkins (Doc). C-95m. Letterboxed. Closed captioning. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

Trivia

The song "The Meanest Girl in Town" was one of the only songs not composed for this movie. It had been written for Bill Haley and the Comets and recorded by then in 1964 under the title "Yeah She's Evil".

For reasons unknown, several of Elvis' songs are slightly sped up, making his voice sound higher than usual. This is most noticable on the title track. This error appears to have originated in the recording studio, as the RCA soundtrack album retains the sped up versions of the songs. A recording of "Girl Happy", mastered at the proper speed, would not be released until the 1990s.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video December 6, 1988

Released in United States Winter February 1965

Released in United States Winter February 1965

Released in United States on Video December 6, 1988