The Happy Hooker (film)

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The Happy Hooker
The Happy Hooker.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Nicholas Sgarro
Produced by Fred C. Caruso[1]
Dennis Friedland[1]
Marlene Hess[1]
Screenplay by William Richert[1]
Based on The Happy Hooker
by Xaviera Hollander with
Yvonne Dunleavy and
Robin Moore
Starring Lynn Redgrave
Jean-Pierre Aumont
Conrad Janis
Music by Don Elliott
Cinematography Richard C. Kratina
Edited by Gerald B. Greenberg
Distributed by Cannon Films
Release date
  • May 8, 1975 (1975-05-08)
Running time
96 min.[2]
Country United States
Language English

The Happy Hooker is a 1975 biographical-comedy film directed by Nicholas Sgarro[2][3] and starring Lynn Redgrave.[2] It was adapted from a best-selling book based on the life of Xaviera Hollander.[1]


As prostitutes are arrested in New York, a flashback begins to the life of one of them, a Dutch secretary Xaviera Hollander (Redgrave) who moved to New York in hopes of marrying her fiancé Carl (Nicholas Pryor), whom she met whilst visiting her sister in South Africa.

Observing how Carl does not help her take her bags off the airplane and his increasingly long morning routine and primping, Xaviera grows concerned he is not the man she thought he was. Her suspicions are confirmed when his mother insults her over dinner. Xaviera offers him a choice of her or his mother and he picks his mother.

Xaviera finds work at the Dutch Embassy as a translator and secretary. She is asked on a date by Frenchman Yves (Jean-Pierre Aumont) and quickly falls in love with him and his extravagant lifestyle, as Yves has made a small fortune as a consultant for large corporations and even small countries.

Yves announces that he must leave as he has been summoned by the king of a Middle Eastern country. Xaviera breaks down crying. He hands her a large envelope containing cash. Although it makes her feel like a prostitute, she realizes quickly that this may be her calling in life because she loves sex and money. She starts meeting up with Yves' friends.

Xaviera prospers as a prostitute until she is shaken down by a corrupt cop (Richard Lynch) who takes her money and tries to rape her. Instead of paying him off, she goes to work at a local bordello with a madam who offers her a 50/50 split. Xaviera decides that she can do better on her own, so leaves to open her own bordello ten blocks away. After a while, she is the most successful madam in New York City and buys out her former madam's business as well.

All is well until the police officer sees her and instigates a raid, sending her to prison. Xaviera's attorney bails her out of jail and sets her up with a friend of his who is coming in from Montreal.

Principal cast[edit]

Actor Role
Lynn Redgrave Xaviera Hollander
Jean-Pierre Aumont Yves St. Jacques
Tom Poston J. Arthur Conrad
Lovelady Powell Madelaine
Nicholas Pryor Carl Gordon
Elizabeth Wilson Mrs. Gordon
Conrad Janis Fred
Richard Lynch The Cop
Vincent Schiavelli MG
Anita Morris May Smith

Critical reception[edit]

Vincent Canby of The New York Times enjoyed the film:

The movie is a cheerily amoral New York comedy about greed and lust in the land of opportunity... Having been derived from such unlikely subject matter, The Happy Hooker is doubley surprising. It's a witty work.[4]

On the other hand, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it one star out of four and had this to say:

If Horatio Alger were alive today, he would no doubt be appalled by The Happy Hooker, the story of a girl who gets started off on the right foot in life but, through pluck and endurance, makes bad... What all of this is supposed to prove is beyond me.[5]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]