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Lee J. Cobb
In a typical American Midwestern city, Hartfield, Iowa, Lew Marsh (Don Ameche) is the owner of a drugstore. Everyone knows Lew and knew his grandfather, old "Gramp" Marsh (Harry Carey), who had passed on. One evening, Lew and his wife, Agnes (Frances Dee), reminisce lovingly about their son, "Rusty" (Richard Crane), when a telegram arrive from the Navy Department informing them that "Rusty" had been killed in action. Lew becomes bitter, avoids people, refuses to go near the family drugstore. "Gramp" appears before Lew and takes him in hand and together, they revisit the past: Lew's childhood; "Gramp" as a Civil War veteran; Lew's courtship of Agnes; the birth of "Rusty"; Lew as a WW! soldier; Rusty's boyhood days and into his attempt to decide between Lenore Prentiss and Gretchen Barry, and how Lenore becomes his bride just before he joins the Navy. This excursion into the past takes away Lew's bitterness and he now sees what America means. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Good job, Harry. Bad job, Harry. (Different Harrys.)
Overall, this film falls within the much larger group of films from this period during screenings of which I like to call, "Buy war bonds!" Not as propagandistic as, say, THOUSANDS CHEER, HAPPY LAND can boast of a relatively amazing performance by a young Harry Morgan, as well as a generally high quality of acting on the part of the star, Don Ameche. Harry Carey, as Gramp, is a bit over the top, however. When HAPPY LAND doesn't remind you of an advertisement for the U.S. War Dept., it will remind you of IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Unless you're a die-hard Harry Morgan fan, save yourself the trouble and see Jimmy Stewart relive HIS life in a small town. It's a bit more interesting.
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