AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Happy Hooker Goes to Hollywood
Director: Alan Roberts (Dir)
Release Date:   30 May 1980
Duration (in mins):  85
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Cast: Martine Beswicke  (Xaviera Hollander)
  Adam West  (Lionel Lamely)
  Phil Silvers  (William B. ["W. B."] Warkoff)

Summary: Warkoff Bros. studio chief William B. “W. B.” Warkoff pays a surprise visit to the office of his son-in-law, Joseph Rottman, who is the company president. W. B. orders Joseph, studio executive Lionel Lamely, and his grandson, Robby Rottman, to adapt the book The Happy Hooker, into a movie. W. B. is convinced that the book will become a blockbuster movie that will compensate for the studio's lackluster slate of film releases. So, he insists that the executives do whatever is necessary to obtain the film rights from author and madam, Xaviera Hollander. In New York City, Xaviera’s attorney, George, informs her that a Hollywood studio wants to turn her book into a movie, and Xaviera agrees to travel to California to make the deal. Upon arriving on the West Coast, Xaviera is interviewed on television’s “The Rita Beater Show.” However, Rita mispronounces Xaviera’s name, implies that she has had multiple plastic surgeries, and evades the book’s true subject matter. Afterward, Xaviera’s limousine chauffeur admits that Warkoff Bros. Studios set up the interview to see how Xaviera would handle herself. In subsequent studio meetings, Joseph displays set designs of Xaviera’s East Side brownstone brothel with S & M black leather interiors. While the set designer, Dennis, elaborates on the details, Lionel and Xaviera flirt and leave for lunch before the meeting ends. When Lionel admits that he wants to make a movie of Xaviera’s book and romance her, they make love in a swimming pool and hot tub. Later, at a nighttime party, Lionel introduces Xaviera to screenwriting team Miles and Marian. When Lionel freshens Xaviera’s drink, an actress named Chris expresses jealousy that Lionel is consumed with wining and dining the hooker. Meanwhile, Miles and Marian tell Xaviera that her book destroys the stereotype of old, worn out madams. When Miles compliments Xaviera on her beauty, she invites the couple to New York City to observe her business in action. After the party, Lionel and Xaviera make love through the night, while Chris sets up a camera to secretly videotape their activity. In the morning, Chris shows Lionel the videotape, and accuses him of enjoying the madam’s company too much. When Lionel claims he is making the deal to revive Chris’s career, she counters that his real aim is to run the studio. When Xaviera overhears the conversation, she tells him the deal is off and storms out of the house. Robby Rottman offers Xaviera a ride in his car. There, she reads his treatment of her book and loves it. They agree to finance an independent deal to make the movie. When the deal is announced in the pages of Variety, W. B. orders Joseph and Lionel to prevent production. As weeks go by, Robby and Xavier write a screenplay, send for her girls in New York City and set up a production company that is also a brothel. Xaviera obtains film and processing services in exchange for sexual favors. Soon, Xaviera’s businesses make enough money to finance her movie. When W. B. sees the start of Xaviera’s movie announced in Variety, he castigates his executives for failing to shut down the production, and vows to take revenge. W. B. arranges a police sting to arrest Robby, Xaviera, and her girls and the film is shut down. After the crew posts bail, Xaviera tells George that bail has shrunk her budget, and she will now have to fight dirty against W. B . At a Hollywood Moguls dinner at the Ambassador Hotel honoring W. B., Xaviera leaves instructions for Joseph and Lionel to meet her separately in a private suite. She begins to seduce Joseph, then leaves on the pretext of changing her outfit. When Lionel arrives in the adjoining suite, she asks for his forgiveness. She convinces both men to strip and join her in the bedroom when she gives the signal. Then, Xaviera disappears and the naked men grope each other in the dark until Lionel turns on a light. Meanwhile, Xaviera has cut the phone line, stolen the men’s clothes, but left behind women’s clothing. To escape, Lionel and Joseph dress in drag, wearing wigs and makeup. The men are arrested when Lionel throws a punch at a drunken hotel guest, who propositions Joseph in the lobby, and accidentally hits a police officer instead. The executives are fired and Rita Beater reports that the scandal has caused Warkoff Studio stock to plummet. Only a deal with Xaviera will save the studio. W. B. offers Xaviera $5 million to finish the picture in time for the opening of his newest theater. If she misses the deadline, W. B. will take ownership of the film and Xaviera gets nothing. After the cast and crew work around the clock, the edited film is sent to the laboratory for processing, but W. B. hires thugs to steal the finished print. Robby and Xaviera’s girls chase the thieves through the streets of Los Angeles, while the robbers’ car eventually crashes into the bleachers set up at Warkoff’s new theater. Robby and the girls grab the film and run to the projection room. Sitting in the audience, W. B. is sure that he has sabotaged Xaviera. However, the film appears on screen and receives applause. After the screening, W. B. tells Variety reporter, Army Archerd, that he supported the film from the start. Xaviera says she might make another film if she writes another book, perhaps about her experiences in Hollywood. 

Distribution Company: Cannon Films
Production Company: Golan-Globus Production
Director: Alan Roberts (Dir)
  John Callas (Prod mgr/1st asst dir)
  Robin Oliver (2d asst dir)
Producer: Menahem Golan (Prod)
  Yoram Globus (Prod)
  Ronnie Hadar (Assoc prod)
Writer: Devin Goldenberg (Scr)
  Alan Roberts (Story)
  Devin Goldenberg (Story)

Subject Major: Books
  Motion pictures
  Xaviera Hollander
Subject Minor: Arrests
  Business competition
  Business rivals
  Hollywood (CA)
  Human sexuality
  New York City
  Motion picture premieres
  Motion picture screenwriters
  Motion picture studios
  Plastic surgery
  Swimming pools
  Television personalities
  Television programs
  Women in business

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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