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Trainer Pop Hardy thinks his heavyweight boxer 'King' Cole could be champ...some day; he wants to sell a half interest in Cole to his rich friend Wayne. Wayne's daughter Eleanor is disdainful, but brash Cole manages to get under her skin. Can a society dame and a mug find happiness together? And can she wait for his slow rise to fame? Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
It's like two separate films merged together poorly.
"Invitation to Happiness" is a film that is incredibly frustrating. The film is bizarre because the first and second halves of the movie seem as if they were torn from separate movies and clumsily stuck together.
When the film begins, King Cole the boxer (Fred MacMurray) meets Eleanor (Irene Dunne). Although she is rich and the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other, they fall in love and get married. Things seem just grand between them and they have a baby. This portion of the film is enjoyable...no serious complaints from me.
The film then skips ahead about 9 years and Cole is still a boxer...but the marriage is inexplicably on the rocks. He and his wife fight but there really is no indication as to why. Then they decide to get divorced...and you keep wondering why. It seems more like a plot device than a logical progression of the story. The pair split up and Cole's son seems to dislike his father and has an odd, almost Freudian sort of relationship with his mom. All this precedes the 'big fight' for the championship.
As I mentioned, this is a frustrating film. MacMurray and Dunne are fine actors and their scenes together are very nice early in the movie. However, Fred does NOT seem much like a boxer and all the marital problems just seem contrived and come from out of no where. The end result is a movie that looks good and obviously cost a lot of money for the studio...but which left me feeling flat and a bit annoyed. They really should have worked out the script--gotten all the many kinks out of it and created a more logical plot. As it is, it's an okay time-passer but should have been much more. A big disappointment.
FYI--the final fight is the only one the movie shows in any detail. While it looks pretty realistic in some ways (like they're really hitting each other), the boxers do what often happens in movies-- they slug way too often (especially for a heavyweight fight). Real boxers doing this would be dead by the second round!
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