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Happy Days (1929)

Passed  -  Musical  -  13 February 1930 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 97 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

Margie, singer on a showboat, decides to try her luck in New York inspite of being in love with the owners grandson. She is successful, but suddenly she hears that the showboat is in deep ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles E. Evans ...
Colonel Billy Batcher
Marjorie White ...
Margie
Richard Keene ...
Dick
...
Jig
Martha Lee Sparks ...
Nancy Lee
Clifford Dempsey ...
Sheriff Benton
James J. Corbett ...
Interlocutor - Minstrel Show
George MacFarlane ...
Interlocutor - Minstrel Show
...
Herself
...
Himself
...
Minstrel Show Performer
El Brendel ...
Minstrel Show Performer
William Collier Sr. ...
End Man - Minstrel Show
Tom Patricola ...
Minstrel Show Performer
George Jessel ...
Minstrel Show Performer
Edit

Storyline

Margie, singer on a showboat, decides to try her luck in New York inspite of being in love with the owners grandson. She is successful, but suddenly she hears that the showboat is in deep financial trouble, and she calls all the boats former stars to join in a big show to rescue it. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

riverboat | revue

Taglines:

For sheer Happiness and Joy of Entertainment! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 February 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dias Felizes  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone)

Color:

(Grandeur)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First Betty Grable movie. See more »

Connections

Featured in Biography: Betty Grable: Behind the Pin-up (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Snake Hips
Lyrics and Music by Con Conrad, Sidney D. Mitchell, Archie Gottler
Copyright 1929 by DeSylva, Brown & Henderson, Inc.
Performed by Sharon Lynn and Ann Pennington
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the few early talkie revues to have a plot
15 November 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Just about every major studio did at least one revue film in 1929 and 1930. MGM started the trend with the successful "Hollywood Revue of 1929" which still remains intact today. Since other studios were groping for successful formulas during the transition to sound, they naturally jumped on the bandwagon. However, none of them except maybe "Paramount on Parade" came off as well as Hollywood Revue.

Fox did a revue before this film, the now lost "Fox Movietone Revue". This was their second effort, and it actually has a plot so that there is a reason for the show. Colonel Billy Batcher has a show boat that plods along the Mississippi. However, with the coming of talking pictures he can no longer compete and his showboat is attached by a sheriff for back payment of debts. Margie, raised by the colonel, decides to go to New York to ask the big stars that got their start in the colonel's show to give him a hand.

Strangely enough, all of the stars belong to one New York club, also strange is that all of the alumni of the colonel's show seem to be signed with Fox, and even stranger yet they are all men since this is a "men only" club. How Margie gets into the club is one of the most humorous parts of the film. The scene inside the club is quite interesting as we get to see all of the male stars of Fox at the time, including those that don't have very big parts in the revue itself including Warner Baxter and Will Rogers.

The solution to the colonel's problems, of course, lie in the big Fox movie stars doing a revue for his benefit. The revue portion is only the second part of the film. Again, the revue largely segregates the men from the women in the performances given. The first part of the revue is a minstrel show with all of the stars in black face. As each is addressed by the interlocutor, the star's face turns from black to white - an odd photographic trick to make the star recognizable to the audience perhaps. Featured performers in this part are Frank Richardson singing "Mona" and Victor McLaglen and Edmund Lowe singing a buddy song. Lost as a fact to today's audiences, McLaglen and Lowe did several buddy pictures for Fox in the early sound era.

The minstrel section closes and several individual acts come up, including two great jazz numbers - "Crazy Feet" performed by Dixie Lee and chorus and "Snake Hips" performed by Sharon Lynn, Anne Pennington, and chorus. Look for Betty Grable in the chorus - she's in there. Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor perform a romantic duet singing "We'll Build a Little World of Our Own". The whole thing closes with Whispering Jack Smith singing the title song of "Happy Days" to battling lovers Margie and Dick.

What is wrong with this film? Like all of the revues done at the time, Fox forgot that revues were about displaying your biggest assets - the studio stars, not necessarily the numbers and skits in the revue themselves. Nobody in the show provides any context or in some cases, even names for the stars as they are introduced to perform. Given how film history turned out, the choice of focus just seems odd. Great attention is paid to Victor McLaglen, Edmund Lowe, and El Brendel. Unless you are a classic movie fanatic you won't have any idea who these people are today, with the exception of McLaglen, and that is because of films he did long after he left Fox behind. Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor are not even introduced, and maybe in 1929 no introduction was deemed necessary, but today most people would be wondering who on earth these people were. That particularly holds true for Farrell. Finally, the biggest stars Fox had on contract at the time

  • George Jessel, Warner Baxter, and Will Rogers are invisible after the


short comic scene in the men-only club in New York. This is what MGM got right about its revue - it introduced each star as he/she performed and talked a little about what they had been doing at the studio.

The best thing this picture has going for it is Marjorie White as Margie, and she wasn't even a contract Fox player. She's funny and bursting with energy, and probably best known as playing the female lead in the first Three Stooges short a year before she died in a car accident in 1935.

I'd still recommend this film for fans of the early talkies and of film history, but everybody else will probably be lost.


4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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