Love Happy (1949)

Passed   |    |  Comedy, Crime, Music


Love Happy (1949) Poster

The Marx Brothers help young Broadway hopefuls while thwarting diamond thieves.


5.8/10
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6 December 2004 | cariart
The Marxes' Finale is Really Harpo's Show...
"Love Happy" is remembered, primarily, as the last "Official" Marx Brothers film (they would all appear in brief vignettes in "The Story of Mankind", seven years later, but not as a team), but if the film were a baseball statistic, it would have an asterik (*), because it truly isn't a showcase of the brothers, together, but a comedy starring Harpo, with Chico in a supporting role, and Groucho doing narration, and making brief appearances, occasionally (rather like the "General Electric Theater" TV episode the brothers would do, in 1959, where Harpo and Chico played crooks with hearts of gold, and Groucho would make a surprise appearance at the finale, as their lawyer).

As a comedy, "Love Happy" is so-so, with Harpo providing some genuine laughs, particularly during an interrogation scene with villains Raymond Burr, Ilona Massey, Eric Blore, and Bruce Gordon, and in the rooftop finale, with Harpo offering the same kind of outrageous physical humor that he had demonstrated in the classic MGM comedies. But the rest of the plot, while mildly entertaining, is simply a musical variation of "Room Service", as an impoverished group of performers (headed by Paul Valentine and future star Vera-Ellen) struggle to put on a Broadway musical.

The back story of the film is possibly more entertaining than the movie, itself; Harpo had wanted to make a solo film throughout the forties, and had tinkered on the script for several years, while soliciting financial backing for the project. Chico, meanwhile, was running up huge gambling debts, as was often the case (while a brilliant card player, he was a notoriously bad gambler), and just as the Marxes had made "A Night in Casablanca", in 1946, to pay off his debts at that time, Harpo brought him into "Love Happy" to do the same. Unfortunately, the end of the decade was a depressed time for film making (with television making inroads into the ticket-buying public), and backers would only fund the project if all three brothers would appear in the movie.

Groucho, by now a genuine TV star, thanks to the "You Bet Your Life" quiz show, hated the script of "Love Happy", and had little desire to co-star in the film. He was, however, loyal to his brothers, and finally reached a compromise; he would only appear briefly, would not have to wear his trademark greasepaint eyebrows and mustache, and would have final approval of his dialog and the performers working with him. He could honestly say he helped 'discover' Marilyn Monroe, at an open audition (watching two other starlets walk across a stage, followed by Marilyn, when asked for his pick for a small role, he raised his eyebrows and quipped, "You're kidding, right?")

Be warned: While "Love Happy" is not terrible, it certainly is no "Night at the Opera", or "Duck Soup"!

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The underlying rights to the film were purchased by National Telefilm Associates in the 1950s for television distribution. NTA renamed itself Republic Pictures in 1985, and merged with Spelling Entertainment in 1994. Spelling was acquired by Viacom in 1999, putting the film under the ownership of the studio which launched the Marx Brothers' film career, Paramount Pictures, which Viacom had acquired in 1994. Their Paramount films themselves are now owned by Universal, having been sold with most of the studio's other pre-1950 sound features to eventual Universal parent MCA in 1957. Paramount has licensed US video rights to the films they acquired in the Spelling merger over the years to Artisan Entertainment, Lions Gate Entertainment, and since 2012, Olive Films, which most recently reissued Love Happy in 2015.


Quotes

Faustino the Great: I no like-a to brag, but the thing I'm-a most unknown for is-a mind-reading. I give you demonstration. You're thinking of something.
Mike Johnson: Right, so far.
Faustino the Great: You're thinking of a nice juicy steak with a French-a fried-a potatoes.
Mike Johnson: The exit's over there.


Goofs

Faustino's response when he asks Harpo to "Clear your head"


Alternate Versions

The first few seconds - the Approved code - are missing from some prints (including video prints). The code is printed on the back of Groucho's chair - in the prints without the code, the film just fades in when Groucho turns around.


Soundtracks

Gypsy Love Song" (1898) (uncredited)
Written by
Victor Herbert
Performed by Chico Marx on piano and Leon Belasco on violin

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Comedy | Crime | Music

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