The Marx Brothers
Love Happy (1949)

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Love Happy

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Harpo plays a solitary tramp (also called Harpo) helping out a theatre company who have "the biggest smash hit since Showboat" but no money to produce it. Nor do they have any money for food, which is a problem Harpo can solve without too much difficulty.

Faustino The Great (Chico) shows up on the scene because he hears that the company is looking for unknowns. He says, "You're hiring-a peoples a-never been heard of. Well, I'm the most unknown and unheard of actor who's never been on Broadway." As it turns out, the thing he is most unknown for is mind reading. He uses this skill to interpret Harpo's messages throughout the film and he also plays the piano prominently. One of Chico's best musical scenes ever is in a duet with Mr. Lyons (Leon Belasco) who plays the fiddle on a weird little medley with Chico.

Intrigue enters the plot as Madame Egilichi (Ilona Massey) is desperately searching for the Romanoff Diamonds which have been lost due to incompetence on the part of one of her lackeys, and petty larceny on the part of Harpo. She will resort to anything, even torture, to get the diamonds back.

As private detective Sam Grunion, Groucho has little to do in this picture. He serves as narrator, explaining that he has been tracking the royal Romanoff Diamonds for eleven years, "...through the Khyber Pass, over the Pyrenees, round the Cape of Good Hope, and in the Gimbal's basement." He makes a fleeting appearance later in the film with Marilyn Monroe (making her big screen debut) who is seeking his help, but Groucho is unable to ditch the plot which has placed him in the hands of a hired killer at this time. Unlike his brothers, Groucho's appearance has been altered; the glasses and moustache are now real.

This is essentially Harpo's film; he also wrote the story. Chico's main duties are interpreting Harpo's messages and noodling on the piano, and Groucho's part is even less substantial. However, Harpo's performance in the various sight gags cooked up for him (once again by Frank Tashlin) make for a fun picture.

Jim Junot furnished this tidbit (from the book Groucho by Hector Arce): "There wasn't enough money to complete the film, so the producers approached different companies for investment in return for advertising in the movie. The ones who invested got their names on billboards on the rooftops. This marked the first time 'product placement' was used on a film. (Note: Many of the investors wouldn't contribute until Groucho was secured for the film.)"

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Harpo Marx   Harpo
Chico Marx   Faustino
Groucho Marx   Sam Grunion
Vera-Ellen   Maggie Phillips
Ilona Massey   Madame Egelichi
Raymond Burr   Alphonse Zoto
Melville Cooper   Lefty Throckmorton
Paul Valentine   Mike Johnson
Leon Belasco   Mr. Lyons
Eric Blore   Mackinaw
Bruce Gordon   Hannibal Zoto
Marilyn Monroe   Grunion's Client
Edward Gargan   Cop delivering Harpo
Otto Waldis   Assasin in Grunion's office
House Peters Jr.   Clergyman in "Sadie Thompson" number
Lois Hall  

Director  David Miller
Written by  Frank Tashlin
  Mac Benoff
  Ben Hecht (uncredited)
  Harpo Marx (story)
Cinematography  William C. Mellor
Production design  Gabriel Scognamillo
Set decorator  Casey Roberts
Film Editing  Al Joseph
  Basil Wrangell
Music  Ann Ronell
Musical director (Orchestra conductor)  Paul J. Smith
Orchestration  Harry Geller
Production number stager  Billy Daniel
Photographic effects  Howard A. Anderson
Costume design  Grace Houston
Men's wardrobe  Richard Bachler
Make-up  Fred Phillips
Hair stylist  Scotty Rackin
Production manager  Ray Heinze
Presented by  Mary Pickford
Produced  Lester Cowan
Production company / Distribution  Artists' Alliance / United Artists
Runtime  85 min.
Release date  03 Mar 1950
New York opening  07 Apr 1950
Spanish title  Amor En Conserva
  Locos de Atar
French title  La pêche au trésor
German title  Die Marx Brothers im Theater
Swedish title  Sardin Mysteriet
Italian title  Una notte sui tetti
Finnish title  Sardiinimysteerio

Posters and Lobby Cards for this movie. Click to enlarge.
Poster Poster Poster Poster Poster

Musical numbers

Performed byComments
Main Title
Main Title 
Music and lyrics by: Ann Ronell
 Mama Wants To Know Who Stole The Jam 
Music and lyrics by: Ann Ronell
 Love 'N' Strip 
Music and lyrics by: Ann Ronell

This site uses material originally created by Frank Bland for his website Why A Duck?. Frank did kindly give me permission to use this material.

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