Joy of Living (1938)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Musical, Romance

Joy of Living (1938) Poster

Broadway star Margaret Garrett has spent her whole life working to support her sponging relatives. When she meets carefree Dan Webster, she learns how to have fun for the first time.


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6 January 2019 | AlsExGal
| A slightly above average time passer and diversion
Irene Dunne plays a Broadway singer who serves as her family's meal ticket. Her family, including sister Lucille Ball, don't do much, other than enjoy the wealth and status (by association) Dunne's success brings them. Dunne is exhausted, but is constantly pressured into taking more and more responsibilities on and Dunne does so as to not disappoint her family. Despite all of her hard work and wealth, her family's spendthrift ways have plunged Dunne deeply into depth. When she finds out about her financial woes, she is very disillusioned (who wouldn't be?).

Dunne ends up meeting heady and fresh Douglas Fairbanks Jr. At first she is put off by Fairbanks' pushiness and even has him arrested at one point, accusing him of being a masher. Fairbanks manages to charm his way out of jail time and even gets Dunne appointed as his probation officer. Legally he has to report to Dunne two times a week. As she gets to know Fairbanks, Dunne finds out that he comes from wealth but has chosen to live his life as a pleasure seeker. He also claims to own an island in the South Pacific and urges Dunne to leave her stress behind and live in paradise with him.

Lucille Ball is good as Dunne's younger sister (and understudy), but her part is so small, she doesn't really get to make much of an impression. Though, she continues to prove that she is good with the one-liners. It must have been frustrating for Lucy to have come from such a great supporting part in Stage Door, only to be put into another small supporting part, but in not as prestigious a film. Irene Dunne is good here, even though it is only sightly above average material. Douglas Fairbanks Jr is always a charmer and he's very handsome in this film. It's easy to see why Dunne would have a hard time between choosing Broadway or Fairbanks.

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