LOVE HAPPY

(1949)
With Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Groucho Marx, Ilona Massey, Vera Ellen, Marion Hutton, Eric Blore, Leon Belasco, Raymond Burr, Marilyn Monroe
Directed by David Miller
Black and White
Reviewed by JB

Whatever became of Margaret Dumont?     LOVE HAPPY was originally conceived as a solo vehicle for the silent Marx Brother Harpo, but once Chico joined the cast, it was only a matter of time before Groucho was persuaded to make an appearance so the film could be sold as a Marx Brothers movie.  

     But is it?  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.  In fact, I don't think that Chico and Groucho even exchange dialogue 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.  (7) 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 is a Marx Brothers film, than I am Brad Pitt.  And since I'm looking around now and I don't see Angelina Jolie...

     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 - billboard chase at the end is actually lots of fun to watch. Chico does 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 a young Marilyn Monroe, is the outlandish sight of Chico's hat achieving a full erection in the presence of Ilona Massey.  Love happy indeed! 2 - JB

The Marx Brothers     The Age of Comedy


A BOW FOR HARPO AND CHICO

Harpo's Solo: "Happy Birthday"/"Love Happy" & "Swannee River" (medley)
Chico's Solo: "Gypsy Love Song"/Polonaise in A Flat (Chopin)

SOME 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.