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Happiness Ahead (1934)

6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 110 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 3 critic

Society heiress Joan Bradford rebels against her mother's choice of a future husband by masquerading as a working class girl and dating a window washer.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Bob Lane
Josephine Hutchinson ...
Joan Bradford
...
Henry Bradford
Frank McHugh ...
Tom
...
Chuck
Ruth Donnelly ...
Anna
Dorothy Dare ...
Josie
Marjorie Gateson ...
Mrs. Bradford
Gavin Gordon ...
'Jellie' Travis
Russell Hicks ...
Jim Meehan
Mary Forbes ...
Mrs. Travis
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Window Washer Boss
Mary Treen ...
Bob's Comedienne Friend
Mary Russell ...
Bob's Friend at the Pekin
...
Mrs. Davis - the Landlady
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Storyline

Joan's parents want her to marry young Travis, but Joan has no interest in him. So on New Years Eve, she goes out to a club where she meets Bob. Things click and she rents an apartment in the city so that she can date Bob and he will not know that she is RICH. He works for the Peerless Window Cleaners, but hopes to soon have his own window cleaning company. The problems between Bob and Joan start when he see's Joan getting a check from an older man and also finds that she does not stay in her apartment after he drops her off. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 October 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Felicidade pela Frente  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Joan Bradford: Mother's run my life long enough! I'm 21, I'm white, and I've a right to be free!
Henry Bradford: What are you going to do about it... sit here and mope?
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Crazy Credits

Quite unusually for this era, there's a short pre-credit sequence: a complete refrain of the title song is sung before the main title card is shown. The First National logo zooms toward us out of clouds (just as the WB logo more familiarly does) then Dick Powell is superimposed over the same clouds singing "Happiness Ahead" directly to us. See more »

Connections

Remade as Here Comes Happiness (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional Scottish ballad
Words by Robert Burns
Sung by patrons at the New Year's Party in the Chinese restaurant
See more »

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User Reviews

The Poor Young Rich Girl
4 January 2001 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

HAPPINESS AHEAD (First National, 1934), directed by Mervyn LeRoy, is one of the many 1930s Hollywood comedies dealing with "rich girl falling in love with common man" theme, a cliché' made famous with Columbia's Academy Award winning, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT featuring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. In this instance, "It Happened New Year's Eve" being the basic theme.

The setting: New York. Time: New Year's Eve. The plot: Joan Bradford (Josephine Hutchinson, the central character to the story) is a lonely rich girl who prefers to mingle with the common people instead of her parent's rich but boring socialites. Granted permission by her understanding father (John Halliday), she walks about the city streets surrounded by happy-go-lucky people waiting for that big stroke of midnight. She comes into a Chinese night club where she sits alone. In the table next to her is Bob Lane (Dick Powell), a window washer, accompanied by his friends (Frank McHugh, Dorothy Dare and others). When the lights go out at the stroke of midnight, the lights come back on and Bob is seen mistakenly kissing Joan. Feeling sorry for the girl because she is alone, Bob invites her to his table. This becomes the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but Joan hides the fact of who she really is, pretending to be an unemployed girl living in a tenement apartment under the surname of Smith.

Also featured in the cast are Allen Jenkins and Ruth Donnelly as the Bradford chauffeur and maid; Marjorie Gateson as Joan's mother; Gavin Gordon as Joan's stuffy suitor; and Jane Darwell as the nosy landlady. HAPPINESS AHEAD relies more on plot than songs, but there's enough to go around, including the title tune sung by Powell prior to the opening credits as he's presented transposed through the clouds; "Pop Goes Your Heart," "All on Account of Strawberry Sundae" (sung by Dorothy Dare and Powell); "Beauty Must Be Loved" and "Massaging Window Panes" (sung by Powell and McHugh as they wash windows)

In 1938, Powell starred in another "rich girl/common man" story for Warner Brothers titled HARD TO GET with Olivia De Havilland as the heiress and Powell as a gas station attendant. Hutchinson's performance from this earlier film is more refined while the refine DeHavilland herself in HARD TO GET is more madcap and spoiled, making that story more amusing and fun. Both films, similar in theme, are quite enjoyable in spite their lack of production numbers famous in Warners musicals during that time.

HAPPINESS AHEAD would be reworked again by Warner Brothers as HERE COMES HAPPINESS (1941), a "B" comedy featuring Edward Norris and Mildred Coles (including the "Happiness Ahead" theme song), and as LOVE AND LEARN (1947) with Jack Carson and Martha Vickers. All three versions can be seen from time to time on cable TV's Turner Classic Movies. As Powell would say throughout HAPPINESS AHEAD, "Well, that's taken care of." (***)


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