Second Time Around

It Should Happen to You
Those of us who are city dwellers live in a community of strangers, free, perhaps, from small-minded mores and the whip hand of gossip, but also free of a sense of responsibility and belonging of one to another. This century's ever-denser urban landscape has drawn more and more of us into lives of concrete anonymity, a subject the cinema, as this century's premier art form, has treated many times, in films as disparate as The Crowd, Metropolis, and Blade Runner.

George Cukor's It Should Happen to You casts a rather more benevolent eye on city life than those films. In New York City, 1954, Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon share a brownstone apartment building. Holliday, a brilliant comedienne who resembles a softer, plusher Lucille Ball, plays an unemployed girdle model unhappy with her fate as an unknown "one of the crowd." Her innovative way of winning fame without having any talent marks her as a 1990s celebrity born 40 years too soon -- she rents a billboard to publicize her otherwise unknown name. Before long Gladys Glover (Holliday) has won the full attention of the ever-fickle mass media, over the plaintive protests of her filmmaker boyfriend (Lemmon, sweetly sour in his own film debut). Garson Kanin's clever script ringingly endorses private life and domesticity in the last decade when such a refuge from urban loneliness seemed plausible.

-- Gregg Rickman

It Should Happen to You screens Friday through Tuesday, April 9-13, at 5:40 and 9:25 p.m. at the Stanford Theater, 221 University (at Emerson), Palo Alto. Admission is $6; call (650) 324-3700.

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