HAPPY was originally conceived as a
solo vehicle for the silent Marx Brother Harpo, but behind the scenes
(and Harpo's back), producer Lester Cowan wanted Groucho and Chico to be
part of it so that it could be sold as a Marx Brothers
But is it a Marx Brothers movie? Let's
examine Marilyn Monroe...
er... the evidence. (1) Groucho spends most of his meager
screentime not with Chico or Harpo, but with Eric Blore, who, as fine a
character actor as he was, was never a Marx Brother. (2) No Margaret
Dumont. Not even a
Sig Ruman, Walter Woolf King, Nat Pendleton or Douglas Dumbrille.
(3) No pun-filled chatter between Groucho and Chico.
fact, I don't think that Chico and Groucho even exchange
until the final scene, and even then, they are not in the same
shot. (4) No
novelty songs for Groucho to sing. (5) No attacks on society.
(6) Chico has a more important part than Groucho.
Raymond Burr has a more important part than Groucho. (8)
Unbelievably, there is not a single shot in the film that manages
to catch all three brothers together. If LOVE HAPPY
Marx Brothers film, than I am Brad Pitt.
On the plus side, Harpo can't help be funny (because he's Harpo, that's why!) and has some clever visual gags (animator and gag writer Frank Tashlin had a hand in the script) and the rooftop chase at the end is actually lots of fun to watch. Chico, who acquits himself very nicely throughout despite very little material, has a funny piano and violin routine with Leon Belasco, a sketch Chico frequently did on stage and radio. But the film's most memorable moment, outside of a a short appearance by the young and stunning Marilyn Monroe, is the outlandish sight of Chico's hat achieving a full erection in the presence of Ilona Massey. Love happy indeed! ½ - JB
MEN ARE TRYING TO FOLLOW ME
LOVE HAPPY is most famous now for featuring a young Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest film appearances. According to Groucho, it was he who chose Monroe from a handful of possible actresses to play in one small scene with him. Don't go out for a snack - she enters the film at about the one hour mark and is out of the film forty seconds later.
YOU'LL WONDER WHERE
THE MARX BROTHERS WENT
(WHEN YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH WITH PEPSODENT)
When money ran out to complete the film, the producers hit on an innovative idea: use the film's climactic chase as a space for advertisement, which was at that time, as movie historian Joe Adamson said, "a practice about as common as Irish measles". The companies and products whose billboards and advertisement are shown during the chase include Curtiss (Baby Ruth Candy), General Electric, Fisk Tires, Wheaties, Mobil Gas and Oil, Bulova (a company already mentioned in a Groucho joke during the film) and Kool Cigarettes. Unlike the movies that use blatant product placement today, LOVE HAPPY manages to make good use of the advertising, getting some really clever gags out of them. Which is good, since this is supposed to be a Marx Brothers comedy, even though, as previously discussed, it is not.