One Is a Lonely Number (1972, aka Two Is a Happy Number)

One Is a Lonely Number (1972, aka Two Is a Happy Number)

Synopsis:

In her first starring role, Trish Van Devere (The Changeling and The Hearse) plays Amy, a twenty-seven-year-old housewife who falls into deep depression when her husband (Paul Jenkins, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden) inexplicably leaves her for good. The film deals with Amy’s struggles to gain control over her life.

Reaction & Thoughts:

One Is a Lonely Number (aka Two Is a Happy Number), directed by Mel Stuart, explores 1970s female angst with humor and intelligence. Although neither as insightful as Paul Mazursky’s An Unmarried Woman (1978) nor as funny as Frank Perry’s Diary of a Mad Housewife (1970), the film does a good job illustrating the problems women faced in the 1970s.

Van Devere’s Golden Globe nominated performance is very, very good. She navigates through clichés with class and charm. It’s a well-rounded characterization. Sadly, none of her big films (The Day of the Dolphin and The Savage Is Loose) were a success thus she never became a major player in Hollywood. But Van Devere has done mostly good work, often co-starring with then husband George C. Scott (The Hustler and Patton). Amy is her best role to date.

Melvyn Douglas (Hud) and Janet Leigh (Psycho) shine in supporting roles. Leigh is particularly funny as an abrasive man-eater. She knows it is a showy role and she seizes the opportunity. It’s perhaps her last great movie role. With Joe Spano, Jonathan Goldsmith, and Monte Markham.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

One Is a Lonely Number is fine drama with an excellent performance from the underrated Van Devere. Michel Legrand’s (Summer of ’42) music score is effective too. Written, believe it or not, by David Seltzer (The Omen), based on Rebecca Morris’s story. Kathleen Quinlan’s (Apollo 13) film debut. Color, 97 minutes, Rated R.

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