Love Happy (1950)

82 or 90-91 mins | Comedy | 3 March 1950

Director:

David Miller

Producer:

Lester Cowan

Cinematographer:

William C. Mellor

Production Designer:

Gabriel Scognamillo

Production Company:

Artists Alliance, Inc.
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HISTORY

The working titles of this film were Blondes Up , Hearts and Diamonds and Blonde Heaven . The title card reads: " Love Happy Starring The Marx Brothers." Production manager Ray Heinz's name was misspelled in the credits as "Heinze." The film includes a running narration by Groucho Marx's character, "Sam Grunion," who addresses the audience directly at several points. According to modern sources, the original script of the film, entitled Diamonds in the Pavement , was written by Ben Hecht and Frank Tashlin, but little of that script remains in the final film. In a modern interview, Tashlin recalled that Hecht developed the original story for star Harpo Marx, but that the film "never came out the way it was planned...because of a dreadful producer by the name of Lester Cowan who botched it up." However, the rumor of Hecht's involvement caused the film to be banned in the United Kingdom, where Hecht was reviled for his outspoken criticism of the British occupation of Palestine. In 1948, Britain's Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association imposed a boycott of Hecht's films, and until the ban was lifted in 1952, Hecht was often forced to work without screen credit. According to an 18 Oct 1948 HR news item, Artists Alliance representative Robert Armstrong responded to an inquiry about Hecht's participation in the film by saying that nine different writers had worked on the script, and that to date, "Hecht has not even applied for screen credit."
       Portions of the film were shot on location in New York City. HR production charts indicate that production began in ... More Less

The working titles of this film were Blondes Up , Hearts and Diamonds and Blonde Heaven . The title card reads: " Love Happy Starring The Marx Brothers." Production manager Ray Heinz's name was misspelled in the credits as "Heinze." The film includes a running narration by Groucho Marx's character, "Sam Grunion," who addresses the audience directly at several points. According to modern sources, the original script of the film, entitled Diamonds in the Pavement , was written by Ben Hecht and Frank Tashlin, but little of that script remains in the final film. In a modern interview, Tashlin recalled that Hecht developed the original story for star Harpo Marx, but that the film "never came out the way it was planned...because of a dreadful producer by the name of Lester Cowan who botched it up." However, the rumor of Hecht's involvement caused the film to be banned in the United Kingdom, where Hecht was reviled for his outspoken criticism of the British occupation of Palestine. In 1948, Britain's Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association imposed a boycott of Hecht's films, and until the ban was lifted in 1952, Hecht was often forced to work without screen credit. According to an 18 Oct 1948 HR news item, Artists Alliance representative Robert Armstrong responded to an inquiry about Hecht's participation in the film by saying that nine different writers had worked on the script, and that to date, "Hecht has not even applied for screen credit."
       Portions of the film were shot on location in New York City. HR production charts indicate that production began in mid-Jul 1948, but although the film was listed in the charts until 10 Sep 1948, the number of days in production did not change after 20 Aug 1948. According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, some exhibitors objected to the final rooftop scene, in which Harpo eludes the "Zoto brothers" by hiding behind various neon signs advertising actual products, such as Bulova watches and Kool cigarettes. In a letter to Joseph I. Breen, MPAA Vice President Francis S. Harmon reported that a representative of a large chain of exhibitors had called him to complain about the "advertising plugs" and stated that his circuit would not book the film. Breen responded that the PCA was not authorized to withhold approval of a film because it contained commercial advertising. Modern sources contend that financial problems near the end of production forced Cowan to sell advertising space in the chase scene, a highly unusual practice at the time. Love Happy marked the last time Groucho, Chico and Harpo Marx appeared together as a team, although they made cameo appearances in the all-star cast of the 1957 Warner Bros. release The Story of Mankind (see below). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
8 Oct 1949.
---
Daily Variety
21 Sep 49
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Oct 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jul 48
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 48
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jul 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 48
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Sep 48
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Oct 49
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Oct 48
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jan 49
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Oct 49
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Mar 50
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
9 Mar 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
24 Sep 49
p. 28.
New York Times
8 Apr 50
p. 9.
The Exhibitor
12 Oct 49
pp. 2725-26.
Variety
20 Jul 49
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Mary Pickford Presentation of a Lester Cowan Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Based on a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward des
Ward des
Men's ward
MUSIC
Orch cond by
Mus score
Orch arr
VISUAL EFFECTS
Photog eff
DANCE
Prod numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Casting dir
Asst to prod
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Gypsy Love Song" by Victor Herbert
"Happy Birthday to You" by Mildred J. Hill
"Old Folks At Home" by Stephen Foster.
SONGS
"Love Happy" and "Willow Weep for Me," music and lyrics by Ann Ronell.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Blondes Up
Blonde Heaven
Hearts and Diamonds
Release Date:
3 March 1950
Premiere Information:
World premiere in San Francisco: 12 October 1949
Production Date:
mid July--mid September 1948 at General Service Studios
retakes late October 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Artists Alliance, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 March 1950
Copyright Number:
LP2937
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82 or 90-91
Length(in feet):
8,199
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Private detective Sam Grunion has been searching for the extremely valuable Royal Romanoff diamonds for eleven years, and his investigation leads him to a troupe of struggling performers, led by Mike Johnson, who are trying to put on a musical revue. Grunion notes that the impoverished young dancers would starve were it not for the sweet, silent Harpo: At Herbert & Herbert, a gourmet food shop that also trafficks in stolen diamonds, Harpo kindly helps ladies with their shopping bags, all the while pilfering their groceries and stuffing them in the pockets of his long trench coat. When the elegant Madame Egelichi arrives, store manager Lefty Throckmorton tells her that "the sardines" have come in. Harpo sneaks into the basement and watches as Lefty lovingly unpacks a sardine can marked with a Maltese cross, and swipes the can from Lefty's pocket, replacing it with an unmarked one. Madame Egelichi, who has gone through eight husbands in three months in her quest for the Romanoff diamonds, is furious when Lefty produces the wrong can. When Lefty remembers seeing Harpo in the basement, she orders him to call the police and offer a $1,000 reward for his capture. At the theater, meanwhile, unemployed entertainer Faustino the Great asks Mike for a job as a mind-reader, and when Faustino's clever improvisation stops the show's backer, Mr. Lyons, from repossessing the scenery, Mike gratefully hires him. Harpo, who is secretly in love with dancer Maggie Phillips, Mike's girl friend, gives her the sardine can, and she says she will eat them tomorrow. A policeman sees Harpo inside the theater and brings him to Madame Egelichi, who turns Harpo over ... +


Private detective Sam Grunion has been searching for the extremely valuable Royal Romanoff diamonds for eleven years, and his investigation leads him to a troupe of struggling performers, led by Mike Johnson, who are trying to put on a musical revue. Grunion notes that the impoverished young dancers would starve were it not for the sweet, silent Harpo: At Herbert & Herbert, a gourmet food shop that also trafficks in stolen diamonds, Harpo kindly helps ladies with their shopping bags, all the while pilfering their groceries and stuffing them in the pockets of his long trench coat. When the elegant Madame Egelichi arrives, store manager Lefty Throckmorton tells her that "the sardines" have come in. Harpo sneaks into the basement and watches as Lefty lovingly unpacks a sardine can marked with a Maltese cross, and swipes the can from Lefty's pocket, replacing it with an unmarked one. Madame Egelichi, who has gone through eight husbands in three months in her quest for the Romanoff diamonds, is furious when Lefty produces the wrong can. When Lefty remembers seeing Harpo in the basement, she orders him to call the police and offer a $1,000 reward for his capture. At the theater, meanwhile, unemployed entertainer Faustino the Great asks Mike for a job as a mind-reader, and when Faustino's clever improvisation stops the show's backer, Mr. Lyons, from repossessing the scenery, Mike gratefully hires him. Harpo, who is secretly in love with dancer Maggie Phillips, Mike's girl friend, gives her the sardine can, and she says she will eat them tomorrow. A policeman sees Harpo inside the theater and brings him to Madame Egelichi, who turns Harpo over to her henchmen, Alphonse and Hannibal Zoto. After three days of interrogation, Harpo still refuses to talk, and when he is left alone, he calls Faustino at the theater, using the bike horn he carries in his pocket to communicate. Madame Egelichi listens on the extension as Faustino declares that there are plenty of sardines at the theater, and she goes there at once. Meanwhile, Mike has just finished telling the troupe that they do not have enough money to open when Madame Egelichi arrives and offers to finance the show. Mike cancels his plans to take Maggie out for her birthday so that he and his new backer can discuss the arrangements. In the alley outside the theater, Harpo, having escaped from Madame Egelichi's suite, finds the diamonds in the sardine can which had been set out for a stray cat, and puts them in his pocket. When he finds Maggie crying in her dressing room, Harpo takes her to Central Park, where he plays the harp for her and gives her the diamonds as a birthday gift. On the opening night of the show, Love Happy , Grunion is visited by an agent of the Romanoff family, who threatens to kill him if he does not produce the diamonds in an hour. At the theater, Lefty and the Zoto brothers spy through a window as Maggie puts on the diamond necklace, but Mike asks her not to wear it, promising to buy her an engagement ring instead. As they kiss, Maggie removes the necklace and drops it on the piano strings. The curtain goes up, and when Harpo sees Lefty and the Zoto brothers menacing Maggie, he distracts them with a piece of costume jewelry and leads them up to the roof. Meanwhile, on stage, Faustino plays the piano, and when he strikes the keys forcefully, the diamond necklace flies into the air, drawing the attention of Madame Egelichi, who is watching from the audience. Faustino pockets the diamonds, then rushes to the roof to help Harpo. Madame Egelichi shows up with a gun and demands the necklace, but Faustino gives her the fake diamonds. After tying up Lefty and the Zotos and recovering the real diamonds, Harpo encounters Grunion, who has been hiding on the roof. Harpo drops the diamonds in Grunion's pocket, but then steals them back as Madame Egelichi begins to lead the detective away. Later, in his office, Grunion comments that Harpo disappeared with the diamonds, never realizing their true value. Grunion interrupts his story to take a phone call from his wife, who turns out to be the former Madame Egelichi. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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