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Happy Land (1943)

 -  Drama  -  10 November 1943 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 98 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 3 critic

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Title: Happy Land (1943)

Happy Land (1943) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Lew Marsh
Frances Dee ...
Agnes Marsh
...
Gramp
...
Lenore Prentiss
Cara Williams ...
Gretchen Barry
Richard Crane ...
Russell 'Rusty' Marsh
...
Anton 'Tony' Cavrek (as Henry Morgan)
Minor Watson ...
Judge Colvin
...
Peter Orcutt
Joseph E. Bernard ...
Clerk (as Joe Bernard)
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Storyline

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Plot Keywords:

hymn | flashback | train | clarinet | reverend | See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

10 November 1943 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Happy Land  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 10, 1944 with Don Ameche and Frances Dee reprising their film roles. See more »

Connections

Version of The 20th Century-Fox Hour: In Times Like These (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

When Johnnie Comes Marching Home
(uncredited)
Written by Louis Lambert
Played during the military parade
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User Reviews

 
Melancholy and Grief In Wartime Iowa
3 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Don Ameche's son is killed in WW II. Can grandpa Harry Carey, returning from the dead, convince a grieving Ameche that his life, his son's life, and this whole war is worth his son's sacrifice, and get Ameche to believe his small town is indeed HAPPY LAND?

Despite a wonderful opening sequence, reminiscent of the homespun melancholy of the better parts of Our Town and Since You Went Away, this is a rather superficial and bland treatment of the grief of a good, if temporarily embittered man, whose son has died in the war. Ameche, a decent enough actor, does not have skill to bring off his role, and Harry Carey, with his mono-tonal voice, and facial expressions running the gamut of emotions from A to B, makes conversations about life and death as enchanting as a conversation about whether to pick up milk at the store. The result might be truly Midwestern in its emotions, but it's questionable whether that's a good thing.

Much of the movie is flashbacks to the life of Ameche's child (though, interestingly, we do not see the kid actually fighting in the war). There's nothing especially interesting in the flashbacks, nor, really, is there much there that would provide comfort to Ameche. A final scene, where Ameche learns from a young Harry Morgan how his son died heroically, works somewhat better, simply because Morgan's flat Midwestern delivery and Ameche's flat Midwestern delivery grounds what has been rather leaden supernatural stuff in a bit of reality. Whether Ameche, under these circumstances, would find the will to go on again after all this, is questionable.

A comparison between this film and It's A Wonderful Life is inevitable, as they deal with the same basic situation. This film, far more low key and far less extreme than the Stuart/Capra collaboration, might be more appealing to folks who prefer their fantastic/supernatural cinema to be realistic. But to this viewer, the far more dramatic events and emotional acting of Stuart makes his movie more fun to watch and, oddly enough, more believable.

Assessment -- Don't avoid this movie. You might like it. Alas, I did not.


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