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Joy of Living (1938)

 -  Comedy | Musical | Romance  -  6 May 1938 (USA)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 425 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 5 critic

Broadway star Margaret Garrett has spent her whole life working to support her sponging relatives. When she meets carefree Dan Webster, she learns how to have fun for the first time.

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(screen play), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: Joy of Living (1938)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Maggie
...
Dan
...
Minerva
Guy Kibbee ...
Dennis
Jean Dixon ...
Harrison
Eric Blore ...
Potter
...
Salina
Warren Hymer ...
Mike
...
Cafe Owner
Frank Milan ...
Bert Pine
Dorothy Steiner ...
Dotsy Pine
Estelle Steiner ...
Betsy Pine
Phyllis Kennedy ...
Marie
Franklin Pangborn ...
Orchestra Leader
James Burke ...
Mac
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Storyline

Broadway star Margaret Garrett has spent her whole life working to support her sponging relatives. When she meets carefree Dan Webster, she learns how to have fun for the first time. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

RELAX...UNBEND...DO WHAT YOU WNT TO DO WHEN YOU WANT TO DO IT...THAT'S THE JOY OF LIVING! (original poster - all caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 May 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alegria de Viver  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Bert greets his parents-in-law at breakfast, he says, "Morning Ma!" to his mother-in-law, then "Hello Kibbee!" to his father-in-law Dennis Garret, played by Guy Kibbee. See more »

Quotes

Margaret 'Maggie' Garret: But I make $10,000 a week!
Harrison: Ten thousand? Hmm-mm.
[holds up ten fingers, then closes five]
Harrison: That balances Mr. Roosevelt's budget.
[counting off the other fingers]
Harrison: then there's Selena's singing lessons, the twins ballet lessons, Father's stock market contributions, Mother's antiques. The leaves you...
[makes an "o" with her hand]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Public Eye (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Rock-a-Bye Baby
(1886) (uncredited)
Music and Lyrics by Effie I. Canning
Sung by Irene Dunne to the twins
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Irene Dunne is perfection as usual but ...
29 November 2012 | by (colorado) – See all my reviews

The script is what prevents Joy of Living from being the fabulous movie it could have been. Did the audience of 1938 find Fairbanks character -a stalker, controller, manipulator - appealing? Did the audience cheer when Dunne dumped her grasping family and abandoned her Broadway career for Fairbanks and an island in the South Seas? An island escape is fine for a 2-week vacation, but will forsaking all one has worked for and achieved, and abandoning stardom for fun and sublimating herself to her husband's goals of having a good time be satisfying? Also, Fairbanks is not stellar. He's an OK actor but not equivalent to Cooper, Gable, or even Scott or McCrea, not that any of these talents could have made a silk purse out of this sows ear of a character.

Fairbanks introduces the career-oriented Dunne to the Joy of Living, which is accessed via getting intoxicated on pitchers of beer. She cuts loose, has a barrel of fun, and in her inebriated state finds him so appealing that she marries him. And then runs away with him. He's besotted with the Great Star, but she's spent so little time with him that she doesn't know him or have any realistic idea of what life with him on his island will be like. Had the film ended 6 months after their marriage, we would have seen a very unhappy Dunne back in New York filing for divorce and returning to the Broadway stage.

What Dunne deserved is a husband of substance and merit who would have loved her - not just her public persona - and supported her in her career while pursuing his own career goals. Instead, as there were no other suitors, she tumbled to Fairbanks, who made noises like Donald Duck to show his displeasure and demonstrated his joie de vivre by whooping it up like an Indian brave going into battle.

Yes, I do understand that this is screwball comedy, but it falls far short of the great classics such as My Man Godfrey and Dunne's The Awful Truth. Still, despite the poor script, Dunne's performance makes this film worth watching.


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