Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff
|Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff|
Poster designed by Design Projects, Inc.
|Directed by||Marvin J. Chomsky|
|Produced by||Raymond Stross|
|Written by||Polly Platt
Based on the novel by William Inge
|Music by||Ernest Gold|
|Cinematography||Álex Phillips Jr.|
|Edited by||Rita Roland|
|Distributed by||Bel Air-Gradison Productions|
|Release date(s)||April 1979|
|Running time||105 minutes|
The screenplay by Polly Platt is based on the 1970 novel of the same title by William Inge. Inge wrote two novels, both set in the fictional town of Freedom, Kansas. In Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (Atlantic-Little, Brown, 1970), high-school Latin teacher Evelyn Wyckoff loses her job because she has an affair with the school's black janitor. The novel's themes include spinsterhood, racism, sexual tension and public humiliation during the late 1950s.
In 1954 in Freedom, a fictional small Kansas town, Evelyn Wyckoff, a lonely and greatly depressed 35-year-old high-school Latin teacher, no longer finds any satisfaction in her work, in spite of being well-liked by students and colleagues. Attractive but still a virgin, on the verge of premature menopause, her physician Dr. Neal thinks her problems would be solved if she got a love life. He directs her to Dr. Steiner, a Jewish psychiatrist in Wichita. The talks with Steiner help her to alleviate her grief and slowly she acknowledges her craving for love. She starts flirting with Ed Eckles, the friendly bus driver in her trips to Wichita. Ed cares for her and suggests they should have a love affair. She was hesitant about that because Ed was married and of a lower status. When she finally was willing to, Ed had left town for good and she felt distraught.
One day she is accosted by Rafe Collins, a cocky Black scholarship student who cleans classrooms at the end of the school day. When the young man boldly makes lewd suggestions and begins to unzip his pants, Evelyn flees in a panic but decides to tell no one what transpired, hoping it was an isolated incident.
The following day, Rafe approaches Evelyn again and ruthlessly rapes her on her desk. Ashamed and fearful of the public disgrace she will suffer if she reports being violated by a black man, she chooses to remain silent. A full-fledged psychopath and sadist, Rafe forces himself upon her on a daily basis. Eventually Evelyn, in a mixture of intimidation and sexual craving, submits to the humiliating and abusive relationship, sometimes looking forward to their trysts. One day two other students enter a classroom where Rafe is mistreating Evelyn forcing her naked body against a hot heater. Scandal breaks loose and she faces unrelenting public ostracism. The friendly principal Havermayer is forced to ask her to resign, referring her to a new job in another town. Everybody turns a cold shoulder on her as if she was a culprit, not a victim, and she contemplates suicide. But in the end she regains herself and moves out of town to a new life.
- Anne Heywood ..... Evelyn Wyckoff
- John Lafayette ..... Rafe Collins
- Donald Pleasence ..... Dr. Steiner
- Robert Vaughn ..... Dr. Neal
- Earl Holliman ..... Ed Eckles
- Carolyn Jones ..... Beth
- Ronee Blakley ..... Betsy
- Dorothy Malone ..... Mildred
- Doris Roberts ..... Marie
- Dana Elcar ..... Havermeyer
Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called the film "perfectly dreadful" and added, "In their literalness, Polly Platt's script and Marvin Chomsky's direction compound each other disastrously... Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff expresses familiar truths about the painful conflict of the individual and society—but with a persistent sense of falseness and an utter lack of style."