Review: ‘The Happening’

Intriguing offbeat item, The Happening attempts to blend various elements of kick-happy teeny-boppers, melodrama, pop culture, suburban tragedy, suspense, 'in' gags, 'black humor', Keystone Kops, 'beach party' pix, and alienation in the affluent society in a comedic potpourri, which, between expected laughs, seeks to offer satiric peeks at US life and values.

Intriguing offbeat item, The Happening attempts to blend various elements of kick-happy teeny-boppers, melodrama, pop culture, suburban tragedy, suspense, ‘in’ gags, ‘black humor’, Keystone Kops, ‘beach party’ pix, and alienation in the affluent society in a comedic potpourri, which, between expected laughs, seeks to offer satiric peeks at US life and values.

Well-tempered plotline [by James D. Buchanan and Ronald Austin], with several corkscrew twists, follows the weekend hegira of four ennui-laden but debauched Miami beachbums in search of some potent stimuli. They find it, albeit accidentally, by stumbling into an unlikely kidnapping.

What is bothersome about this tragi-farce is why it doesn’t succeed, with all of the above and generally capable performers, going for it. George Maharis, playing a bull without horns, is spotty but fine, alternating swagger with weakness in his impersonation of a gigolo, while Michael Parks is less convincing but appropriately faceless as a blank-faced rich kid. Newcomer Faye Dunaway, though stunning to view and essaying her role with elan, is too womanly seductive for a teenybopper role.

The Happening

Production

Columbia/Horizon. Dir Elliot Silverstein; Producer Jud Kinberg; Screenplay Frank R. Pierson, James D. Buchanan, Ronald Austin; Camera Philip Lathrop; Editor Philip W. Anderson; Music Frank DeVol Art Dir Richard Day

Crew

(Color) Extract of a review from 1967. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Anthony Quinn George Maharis Michael Parks Robert Walker Martha Hyer Faye Dunaway
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading