The Pursuit of Happiness (1934)

80 or 83 mins | Romance | 28 September 1934

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HISTORY

News items in DV reveal that Ralph Murphy was originally slated to direct, but was forced out by illness. A DV news item noted that the PCA required eliminations from the script and, "with picture now in production, company has little left of the yarn except the title." According to the film's pressbook, some scenes were filmed in the Hollywood Hills and at the Paramount Ranch in ... More Less

News items in DV reveal that Ralph Murphy was originally slated to direct, but was forced out by illness. A DV news item noted that the PCA required eliminations from the script and, "with picture now in production, company has little left of the yarn except the title." According to the film's pressbook, some scenes were filmed in the Hollywood Hills and at the Paramount Ranch in California. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Jul 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
17 Jul 34
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Jul 34
p. 4.
Daily Variety
26 Jul 34
p. 2.
Film Daily
26 Oct 34
p. 4.
Motion Picture Daily
8 Sep 34
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
15 Sep 34
p. 24.
New York Times
26 Oct 34
p. 25.
Variety
30 Oct 34
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
Contr to dial
Contr spec seq
Contr to trmt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Pursuit of Happiness by Lawrence Langner and Armina Marshall (New York, 9 Oct 1933).
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 September 1934
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
14 November 1934
Copyright Number:
LP5102
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Noiseless Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
80 or 83
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
PCA No:
178
SYNOPSIS

At the start of the American Revolution in 1776, King George III of England arranges for ten thousand Hessians from Grand Duke Friedrich II of Hessen-Kassel to fight against the American rebels. Thus, German violinist Max Christmann is drafted against his will. On arrival in America, Max finds a note from General Washington in a pouch of tobacco promising forty acres of land to any Hessian who joins the American rebels in their fight for freedom. Impressed by the fight for independence, Max deserts and hides in the Kirkland barn in Connecticut. He is discovered, but treated well by Comfort and Aaron Kirkland's beautiful daughter, Prudence. Jealous of the presence of the handsome Hessian in his beloved Prudence's home, Thad Jennings wants to imprison Max. However, Colonel Sherwood, who is part of the Virginia Lighthouse and is under orders from General Washington, temporarily gives Max his freedom. In the meantime, Squire Banks, the self-appointed leader of the community, speaks out against bundling, a tradition in which a fully clothed couple courts by sitting in a bed separated by a center board. This long-standing tradition originated in an effort to stay warm without wasting firewood, and as far as the women of the community are concerned, the custom has been maintained with innocence and propriety. While enjoying his freedom, Max is surprised by the restrictions of the Puritan lifestyle, which seem to prevent the pursuit of happiness. This bemusement does not stop him from falling in love with Prudence, however, and she reciprocates his affection. One night she puts a candle in her window as a sign she is ready to receive her ... +


At the start of the American Revolution in 1776, King George III of England arranges for ten thousand Hessians from Grand Duke Friedrich II of Hessen-Kassel to fight against the American rebels. Thus, German violinist Max Christmann is drafted against his will. On arrival in America, Max finds a note from General Washington in a pouch of tobacco promising forty acres of land to any Hessian who joins the American rebels in their fight for freedom. Impressed by the fight for independence, Max deserts and hides in the Kirkland barn in Connecticut. He is discovered, but treated well by Comfort and Aaron Kirkland's beautiful daughter, Prudence. Jealous of the presence of the handsome Hessian in his beloved Prudence's home, Thad Jennings wants to imprison Max. However, Colonel Sherwood, who is part of the Virginia Lighthouse and is under orders from General Washington, temporarily gives Max his freedom. In the meantime, Squire Banks, the self-appointed leader of the community, speaks out against bundling, a tradition in which a fully clothed couple courts by sitting in a bed separated by a center board. This long-standing tradition originated in an effort to stay warm without wasting firewood, and as far as the women of the community are concerned, the custom has been maintained with innocence and propriety. While enjoying his freedom, Max is surprised by the restrictions of the Puritan lifestyle, which seem to prevent the pursuit of happiness. This bemusement does not stop him from falling in love with Prudence, however, and she reciprocates his affection. One night she puts a candle in her window as a sign she is ready to receive her suitor. Max sneaks out from his guarded quarters and joins her, delighted with the custom of bundling. They soon are discovered, however, first by Squire Banks, and next by Thad, who presumed the candle in the window was lit for him. While Banks, Thad and Comfort protest the possible union of Prudence and Max, Aaron tries to keep the peace and make sure his daughter will be happy. Colonel Sherwood arrives and orders Thad back to his quarters, and also informs Aaron that he is to be the official recruiter of the town. Aaron's first act is to draft Banks. After Sherwood informs them that Max will be Washington's official interpreter, everyone approves his marriage to Prudence, and the couple embraces. +

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

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