Retro Film Report #44: Gosh! Or How To Succeed In Hollywood Without Really Acting (1974)

There were a lot of adult comedies in the seventies - which isn't surprising because there were a lot of adults.  In fact, America had never had anywhere close to this many adults... all with plenty of loose change and spare time to go catch a movie.  Naturally, the comedies that came out of this era weren't for kids - not just because of their sexual content, but because the humor simply wasn't for them (think Woody Allen and 1970s Blake Edwards).

Among the tidal wave of adult oriented comedies comes Gosh! Or How To Succeed In Hollywood Without Really Acting (1974) AKA Alice Goodbody. It's a comedic take on making it in showbiz with plenty o' adult content.  Let's have a look at this oft forgotten comedy, shall we?

First of all, I think it was primarily released as Alice Goodbody, but I like the longer, snazzier title.  It stars Colleen Brennan who used the stage name Sharon Kelly for this role.  

Colleen was in a ton of sexploitation films throughout the 1970s including Invasion of the Bee Girls, Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, and S.O.B. (the controversial Blake Edwards movie where Julie Andrews goes topless). By the 1980s, Colleen's career sadly turned towards more explicit films, and she was out of the business altogether by the decade's end.

The film begins with her waking up and heading to work...

Film buffs and those interested in vintage Hollywood will enjoy her bus ride into town which features some nice shots of Hollywood Boulevard including a shot of Enter the Dragon at the Mann's Chinese Theater.

Through the old movie posters on her walls to her rapt attention in her movie magazine, it's made abundantly clear that Alice is obsessed with the world of film.

We also learn that Alice isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, and flounders hopelessly around in duties as a waitress - much the to frustration of the Mel Sharples-like fry cook/manager.

As luck would have it, there's a low rung film production manager at the diner who offers her a bit part in a major production of Julius Caesar.  His name is Myron Mittleman, played by David Kauffman - who deserves an Oscar for his role as a likeable Hollywood sleazeball.

Kauffman nails this role, but never acted again.  I wonder what ever became of him?  At any rate, he serves as Alice's entryway into acting - and she rewards him with a dinner date and a BJ.

The big production is actually quite hilarious - a horrible musical production of Julius Caesar featuring the disco sounding "Julius Caesar, Crowd Pleaser" number.

Unfortunately, Alice gets bonked on the head by a boom mike (complete with cartoon "Boing" sound effect).  Poor Alice, her lifelong dream has turned into an embarrassing failure within the first few minutes.

Luckily for her, all she has to do is sleep with the head production manager (actor Norman Sheridan) to keep her job.  The man is an insane germaphobe and has Alice fumigate herself then is fully showered  and inspected.  We get to see Alice naked, but the whole affair is a bit on the awkward side.

Alice is back on the set, and she's moved up in the ranks - no longer a background singer, she's the grape delivery girl.  Unfortunately, a light fixture lands on her head and puts her in a neck brace.

Once again, her partner in fellatio, Myron, has got her taken care of.  Production has been put on hold for a week - long enough for her to neck to heal.  When she returns, she will actually have a speaking role... but all she has to do is screw the assistant director.

As it turns out, the assistant director (actor George 'Buck' Flowers) is just as eccentric as the production manager.  He's obsessed with food, and the subsequent sex scene is damn near stomach turning.  Lots of close ups of sloppy eating - which I'm sure was supposed to be uproariously hilarious, but turns out to be just gross.

The next time on the set, Alice is knocked off the stage by a centurion's spear and winds up in the hospital once again.

One thing I don't quite understand is why Alice is shamed and fired for each accident.  None of them are her fault.  If anything, she should be suing the production company for millions.  But I digress.

Anyway, Myron has, yet again, found her a way to get back on the set, and once again it's a bigger part - the role of Caesar's handmaiden.  And, you guessed it, she's got to sleep with someone even higher up the food chain - the lead actor Rex Livingston (actor Keith McConnell).

As you can tell, this is all getting extremely repetitive, but this time it's actually funny.  Alice's accumulation of injuries really provides some genuine laughs.  Just getting Rex's bottle of root juice is almost impossible - she's walking with a can, her arm is in a brace, and, plus, she's just naturally feeble minded.  This is comedy gold.

Keith McConnell is hilarious as the self-obsessed actor who admires himself in the mirror while they're in the act - to the point of covering Alice's head with a pillow.

So, Alice gets back on the set, only to have yet another accident and have Myron line her up for the role of lead actress.  All she has to do is sleep with the director, J.C. (actor Norman Fields).

J.C. is understandably paranoid that Alice was put in his film to purposefully destroy his film.  He's convinced that a rival director has placed this accident-prone idiot into his film as a set-up.

Alice returns to the set as the leading lady, but (big shocker) she's at the center of another accident. I've lost track of how many times this happened in this film.

So, Myron hustles for Alice one final time.  Her character will have even more lines in the film, and she will now have a contract with the studio.  She'll be a "starlet".

Alice: "Myron, what does a starlet do?"
Myron: "Well, for one - she f----s the producer."

Here we go again...

Actor Arem Fisher plays the burping, farting, and overall disgusting producer.  It seems he has had everything he's ever wanted in life, and now grows bored and can't become sexually aroused.  Leave it to Alice to take care of that.

Now it's her big moment - the final scene in the movie.  Surely, nothing will go wrong, right?  Alas, this film maintains its predictability to the bitter end.  A cable is inadvertently wound around a pillar and comes crashing down upon poor Alice, along with half the set in spectacular fashion.

Myron combs through the wreckage and finds Alice.  The final words of the film are said:

Alice: Mr. Mittleman, can I ask you one question?
Marty: Sure, babe.  What?
Alice: Who do I have to f--k to get out of this movie?

Cue music.  Credits roll.

Overall, this was a pretty stupid movie, and perhaps the most repetitive film ever, besides Groundhogs Day.  In fact, you kind of feel like Alice is Bill Murray, forever trapped in an infinite loop.

That being said, the motley group of supporting characters make things interesting: from the germaphobe to the burping producer, they are certainly interesting to watch, and do a pretty good job at delivering the funny. Colleen Brennan is convincing as the clueless starlet, and surprisingly likeable... and often naked, which is a plus.  And then there's Mr. Kauffman...

Give this guy some credit.  For his only acting role, he was dynamite, and kept the film light hearted.

In the end, this film has more going for it than strikes against; I'd recommend you watch it if you have the chance.  It would've been a blast to see in theaters in the Grand Old Year of Nineteen Hundred and Seventy Four.  Cheers.


  1. Note: I have a few weeks this summer free of kids and therefor have some time to watch a bunch of movies. So, you'll be seeing more than your usual amount of movie reviews for a little while.

  2. AnonymousJune 20, 2015

    Nice screen shots! You guys have a great site and podcast, keep up the good work. :-)

  3. I caught this a few weeks ago on YouTube of all places! That last line about who she has to do to get out of the picture was supposedly said years earlier by Tony Curtis while filming "Spartacus", after the film had gone weeks & weeks over schedule. What was supposed to be a 3 or 4 week shoot for Curtis turned into several months and he was sick of it!

  4. The 'Who do I have to f _ _ _?' line was also used by Terry Southern in his novel Blue Movie, 1970.

  5. That punchline I think goes back even way earlier.

  6. Yup, it's on YouTube under the "Alice Goodbody" title. I just listened to the opening credits and it's worth watching for the music alone.

  7. I like how the movie poster ran out of adjectives to describe the film, so they use "funny" twice!