Happy Birthday, Wanda June

Watch Happy Birthday, Wanda June

  • R
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 45 min
  • 5.9  (354)

Happy Birthday, Wanda June is a 1971 film directed by Mark Robson and based on a play by Kurt Vonnegut. The film stars Rod Steiger as Harold Ryan, a ruthless war veteran who returns home after being presumed dead for eight years. He finds his wife (Susannah York) has moved on and is now living with another man (George Grizzard). The film takes a satirical approach to masculinity, patriarchy, and the glorification of war.

The story takes place in a large, luxurious Manhattan apartment. The protagonist, Harold Ryan, is an overbearing and domineering figure who has been missing for eight years while fighting in a war. Upon his return, he is greeted by his wife, Penelope, who has moved on with her life and is now living with a doctor named Norbert. Harold is convinced that his wife still loves him and is not aware that she has moved on. He is also unaware of the fact that his son, Paul, was only six when he went off to war and is now an adult.

The film examines the idea of masculinity and the ways in which it can be problematic. Harold is a symbol of traditional masculinity, a warrior who has been sent to fight for his country. He is violent and aggressive, with little regard for the feelings or needs of others. As much as Harold wants to be in control, he is actually powerless to change the world around him.

The film also takes aim at the glorification of war. Harold is celebrated for his bravery and heroism in battle, but the reality of war is anything but heroic. The film shows the devastating impact that war can have on individuals and society as a whole. Harold's experiences in the war have left him mentally unstable and emotionally scarred.

Happy Birthday, Wanda June is a comedy that addresses serious topics in a light-hearted way. The film is full of irony, satire, and biting commentary on the world around us. The script by Kurt Vonnegut is sharp and witty, with many memorable lines and scenes.

The performances in Happy Birthday, Wanda June are strong, particularly Rod Steiger's portrayal of Harold Ryan. Steiger is able to show the different layers of Harold's personality, from his aggression to his vulnerability. Susannah York is also impressive as Penelope Ryan, a woman who has been forced to take charge of her life after her husband's disappearance. George Grizzard is charming as Norbert Woodley, the doctor who has become involved with Penelope in Harold's absence.

Overall, Happy Birthday, Wanda June is a unique film that addresses important issues in a comedic way. The film is a commentary on the state of the world in the early 1970s, and many of its themes are still relevant today. It is a must-see for fans of Kurt Vonnegut, as well as anyone interested in the complexities of masculinity and the impact of war on individuals and society.

Happy Birthday, Wanda June
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 45 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.9  (354)