Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff
Poster designed by Design Projects, Inc.
Directed byMarvin J. Chomsky
Written byPolly Platt
Based on the novel by William Inge
Produced byRaymond Stross
CinematographyÁlex Phillips Jr.
Edited byRita Roland
Music byErnest Gold
Distributed byBel Air-Gradison Productions
Release date
April 1979
Running time
105 minutes
CountryUnited States

Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff is a 1979 American drama film directed by Marvin J. Chomsky.[1] The screenplay by Polly Platt is based on the 1970 novel of the same title by William Inge.[2] Inge wrote two novels, both set in the fictional town of Freedom, Kansas. In Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff, high-school Latin teacher Evelyn Wyckoff loses her job because she has an affair with the school's black janitor. The novel's themes include spinsterhood, racism, sexual tension and public humiliation during the late 1950s.[3] The film version stars Anne Heywood,[4] John Lafayette, Donald Pleasence, Robert Vaughn[5] and, in her final film, Carolyn Jones.[1][6]


In 1954 in Freedom, a fictional small Kansas town, Evelyn Wyckoff, a lonely and greatly depressed 35-year-old high-school Latin teacher, no longer finds any satisfaction in her work, in spite of being well-liked by students and colleagues. Attractive but still a virgin, on the verge of premature menopause, her physician Dr. Neal thinks her problems would be solved if she were to begin a romantic relationship. He directs her to Dr. Steiner, a psychiatrist in Wichita. The talks with Steiner help her, and slowly she acknowledges her craving for love. She starts flirting with Ed Eckles, the friendly bus driver on her trips to Wichita. Ed cares for her and suggests they should have a love affair. She hesitates because Ed is married. When she is finally willing, she finds Ed has left town for good.

One day she is accosted by Rafe Collins, a cocky black college scholarship student who cleans classrooms at the end of the school day. When the young man boldly makes lewd suggestions and begins to unzip his pants, Evelyn flees in a panic but decides to tell no one what transpired, hoping it was an isolated incident.

The following day, Rafe approaches Evelyn again and ruthlessly rapes her on her desk. Ashamed and fearful of the public disgrace she will suffer if she reports being violated by a black man, she chooses to remain silent. A full-fledged psychopath and sadist, Rafe forces himself upon her on a daily basis. Evelyn, in a mixture of intimidation and sexual craving, submits to the humiliating and abusive relationship, sometimes looking forward to their trysts. When Rafe forces Evelyn's body against a hot radiator during sex, her screams alert two other janitors, who enter her classroom and see what is going on. Scandal breaks loose and Evelyn faces unrelenting public ostracism. The friendly principal Havermayer is forced to ask her to resign, referring her to a new job in another town in New Jersey. Everybody turns a cold shoulder on her and she contemplates suicide. But in the end she regains herself and moves out of town to a new life.



Critical response

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called the film "perfectly dreadful" and added, "In their literalness, Polly Platt's script and Marvin Chomsky's direction compound each other disastrously... Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff expresses familiar truths about the painful conflict of the individual and society—but with a persistent sense of falseness and an utter lack of style."[7]


Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff was released in April 1979 in theaters in the United States and on October 27, 1979, in theaters in Japan.[citation needed] The film was released on VHS with these alternate titles: The Sin, The Shaming and Secret Yearnings.[8][9] Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 13, 2013.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  2. ^ Inge, William (1970). Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff. Little, Brown. OCLC 74015.
  3. ^ Inge, William (1970). Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1st ed.). New York City: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-9997403735.
  4. ^ Paietta 2007, p. 77.
  5. ^ Moore, Frazier (November 12, 2016). "Robert Vaughn, suave 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' star, dies at 83". Star Tribune. Minneapolis: Star Tribune Media Company LLC. Archived from the original on November 30, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  6. ^ Pylant, James (2012). In Morticia's Shadow: The Life & Career of Carolyn Jones (Kindle ed.). United States: Jacobus Books. ASIN B00B5WMUN2.
  7. ^ Thomas, Kevin. "'Los Angeles Times review". United States: Donald Pleasence. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  8. ^ "Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff". British Film Institute. United Kingdom. Archived from the original on February 12, 2007. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff". Complete Index to World Film. United Kingdom: Valan Publishing Limited. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff". Vinegar Syndrome. United States. August 13, 2013. ASIN B00DDXEJDA. Retrieved November 29, 2016.