The Jayne Mansfield Story (1980)
All Jayne Mansfield wanted to be was famous, acting could come later. Yet such is the fickle nature of fame that many people tuning into this biopic would be doing so to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger in an early starring role, regardless of how bad his performance is.
In his portrayal of Mansfield’s second husband, former Mr Universe Mickey Hargitay, Arnie is hardly stretched, though his stiffness cannot totally be put down to an abundance of muscles constricting his movement. Nor can his garbled delivery be attributed to an impersonation of Hargitay’s Hungarian accent, which makes the decision to have Arnie narrate the biopic even more baffling.
Notwithstanding the film’s reputation as one of the worst biopics ever made, the opening twenty minutes or so are fairly entertaining, despite Loni Anderson’s incessant cooing and purring. In its depiction of Mansfield’s quest for fame, the biopic astutely depicts the distinction between the public persona and the private person. However, when these two sides of the buxom beauty’s personality become indistinguishable, there is no respite from Anderson’s histrionic performance.
Arnie’s escape comes when his character divorces Mansfield, leaving Anderson to scream at an empty room “Why does everybody leave me?” Understandably, Arnie doesn’t respond with his trademark “I’ll be back”.
as Jayne Mansfield
as Mickey Hargitay
Radio announcer states that Jayne Mansfield was 36 years old when she died. She was, in fact, 34.
Film infers The Girl Can’t Help It (1956) was Mansfield's first film, ignoring her previous roles in Warner Brothers’ movies.
Mickey Hargitay is shown visiting his wife on the set of Las Vegas Hillbillys (1966). The two divorced two years prior to his film being made.
Closest this biopic gets to a ‘scene stealer’ is restaging a scene from the play ‘Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter’ which Mansfield recreated for the film version. There is also a brief scene supposedly from Las Vegas Hillbillys. However, the biopic depicts this film as a western, where in fact it was a musical-comedy.