Year Released: 1974
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 80 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:
Can a one-legged woman find love and sex in a bipedal world? If she’s Rose Petra, not only can she achieve those goals but she can even get a handsome surgeon to dump his two-legged rich bitch fiancé and fall in love with a gal who has one left foot and no right foot.
Robert Pinkerton’s 1974 “Prelude to Happiness” covers such unlikely ground, and real-life amputee Rose Petra is the perky young lady who puts her best (and only) foot forward playing Susan, an aspiring nurse who is blindsided by a hit-and-run driver and awakens in a hospital to find that her damaged leg was amputated eight inches above the knee. Her fiancé survives with both legs but no heart – he promptly gets cold feet about the wedding plans after getting a look at her hobbling about on crutches while she is wearing a hideous turquoise negligee.
But rather than hop around in self-pity, our five-toed heroine hooks up with a hunky young surgeon. He happens to be engaged to the local society gal, but she’s so shrill that it’s a no-brainer when he dropkicks her and plays footsie with that sweet amputee.
“Prelude to Happiness” is one of the weirdest exploitative movies ever created. The film clearly exists to cash in on Rose Petra’s one-legged charm – she spends a lot of time showing off her legless state (including a romp in a yellow bikini!). But unlike most exploitation films, which clearly sneer at both the audience and the poor folks on screen, this one seems to have a degree of sincerity. Or actually, too much sincerity: it turns on the soapsuds with such a full gust (complete with a “Love Story”-style musical score) that it almost feels like “General Hospital” reimagined by Tod Browning with uncredited assistance by Ed Wood (the visible boom microphones dangling at the top of the screen are pure Woodism).
It doesn’t appear that “Prelude to Happiness” ever had a real US theatrical release (although it may have played on the drive-in circuit in the less-artistically demanding parts of the country). It did, however, wind up in some European markets – perhaps the Continental audiences have better taste, after all? The film’s DVD release may finally bring it the attention it deserves. This one is definitely a cult movie in search of a cult!
Posted on December 1, 2005 in Reviews by Phil Hall
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- PRELUDE2CINEMA SEEKS SPONSORS AND INTERNS
- “THE HOT RAIN” ON THE WEB
- THE BOOTLEG FILES: “CAN HEIRONYMOUS MERKIN EVER FORGET MERCY HUMPPE AND FIND TRUE HAPPINESS?”
- AND NOW HAPPINESS
Popular Stories from Around the Web