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

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


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:

Sensitively directed by Mel Stuart (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory), One Is a Lonely Number (aka Two Is a Happy Number) 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 ’70s.

Trish Van Devere’s Golden Globe-nominated performance is very, very good. Van Devere navigates through clichés with class, charm and intelligence — it’s a well-rounded characterization.

Sadly, none of Van Devere’s 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 the underrated Van Devere has done mostly good work, often co-starring with husband George C. Scott (Patton) — Amy is her best role to date.

Melvyn Douglas (Ninotchka and Ghost Story) and Janet Leigh (Alfred Hitchcock’s 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 Leigh’s last great movie role. The cast also includes Joe Spano (American Graffiti), Dos Equis beer’s “the most interesting man in the world,” Jonathan Goldsmith, and Monte Markham (Guns of the Magnificent Seven).

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

One Is a Lonely Number is a fine drama with an excellent performance from the talented Van Devere. Michel Legrand’s (Summer of ’42) music score is effective too. Written, believe it or not, by the man who gave us The Omen, David Seltzer! Kathleen Quinlan’s (The Doors and Apollo 13) film debut. Color, 97 minutes, Rated R.

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