Choosing for Happiness (in the Ephemeral section of Open Video Project. Also, film #318 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

College girl Mary narrates this film about her friend Eve, and why, despite Eve’s good looks, she hasn’t found a husband yet. It turns out that Eve is as controlling as all get out, throwing a snit fit whenever a boyfriend fails to do exactly as she orders. The message here is that you can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. It’s a sound message, as far as that goes, except that you don’t get the feeling that young men during the 50s were getting the same message from social guidance films. When you take into consideration the blatant sexism of the 50s, it’s disturbing to hear young women being encouraged to “take men as they come”––it seems to be more about subservience than about healthy relating, despite the fact that Eve’s controlling behavior is genuinely annoying, and the boyfriends are portrayed as decent sorts mostly. And the film is made in an annoyingly confusing style, with Mary narrating Eve’s story, when Eve really should be doing it herself. There are also bits of wacked-out dialogue that make you wonder what the writers could have been thinking, especially the scene with Eve and supernerd boyfriend Arthur the Math Major. This makes the film more confusing than it needs to be, and it makes me wonder how it went over with its intended audience.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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