Mae Doyle comes back to her hometown a cynical woman. Her brother Joe fears that his love, fish cannery worker Peggy, may wind up like Mae. Mae marries Jerry and has a baby; she is happy but restless, drawn to Jerry's friend Earl.
After two sailors are conned into buying a lame race-horse, they go ashore to sort out the problem, but when they realize that the horse is one of a pair of identical twins, their plan for revenge becomes more complicated.
When billionaire Jean-Marc Clement learns that he is to be satirized in an off-Broadway revue, he passes himself off as an actor playing him in order to get closer to the beautiful star of the show, Amanda Dell.
The title river unites a farmer recently released from prison, his young son, and an ambitious saloon singer. In order to survive, each must be purged of anger, and each must learn to understand and care for the others.
Young hopefuls trying to stage a Broadway show on a shoestring are sustained with food by expert shoplifter Harpo. They little suspect that his donations include the special sardine can hiding the Romanoff diamonds! Slinky Madame Egelichi and her henchmen will do anything to get them back, but the Marx Brothers lead them a merry chase. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"Love Happy" is remembered, primarily, as the last "Official" Marx Brothers film (they would all appear in brief vignettes in "The Story of Mankind", seven years later, but not as a team), but if the film were a baseball statistic, it would have an asterik (*), because it truly isn't a showcase of the brothers, together, but a comedy starring Harpo, with Chico in a supporting role, and Groucho doing narration, and making brief appearances, occasionally (rather like the "General Electric Theater" TV episode the brothers would do, in 1959, where Harpo and Chico played crooks with hearts of gold, and Groucho would make a surprise appearance at the finale, as their lawyer).
As a comedy, "Love Happy" is so-so, with Harpo providing some genuine laughs, particularly during an interrogation scene with villains Raymond Burr, Ilona Massey, Eric Blore, and Bruce Gordon, and in the rooftop finale, with Harpo offering the same kind of outrageous physical humor that he had demonstrated in the classic MGM comedies. But the rest of the plot, while mildly entertaining, is simply a musical variation of "Room Service", as an impoverished group of performers (headed by Paul Valentine and future star Vera-Ellen) struggle to put on a Broadway musical.
The back story of the film is possibly more entertaining than the movie, itself; Harpo had wanted to make a solo film throughout the forties, and had tinkered on the script for several years, while soliciting financial backing for the project. Chico, meanwhile, was running up huge gambling debts, as was often the case (while a brilliant card player, he was a notoriously bad gambler), and just as the Marxes had made "A Night in Casablanca", in 1946, to pay off his debts at that time, Harpo brought him into "Love Happy" to do the same. Unfortunately, the end of the decade was a depressed time for film making (with television making inroads into the ticket-buying public), and backers would only fund the project if all three brothers would appear in the movie.
Groucho, by now a genuine TV star, thanks to the "You Bet Your Life" quiz show, hated the script of "Love Happy", and had little desire to co-star in the film. He was, however, loyal to his brothers, and finally reached a compromise; he would only appear briefly, would not have to wear his trademark greasepaint eyebrows and mustache, and would have final approval of his dialog and the performers working with him. He could honestly say he helped 'discover' Marilyn Monroe, at an open audition (watching two other starlets walk across a stage, followed by Marilyn, when asked for his pick for a small role, he raised his eyebrows and quipped, "You're kidding, right?")
Be warned: While "Love Happy" is not terrible, it certainly is no "Night at the Opera", or "Duck Soup"!
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