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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've been a die-hard Marxist for several years now. After I watched their first seven films to the point where my tapes were in tatters, I sought out their later films, the lesser productions Room Service thru Night in Casablanca. After that, I still wanted more, so I finally gave in and watched the one film that I KNEW would be painful: Love Happy. Virtually every review has smeared this film and ripped into it with full claws, so I braced myself and bought the DVD.
Now let me tell you something: this movie is great. Of course it's not in the ballpark of the Paramounts, but it fits nicely with their later films, and is a real delight. So why the negative rap? Well, this movie was originally intended as a solo vehicle for Harpo Marx. Chico joined on when he needed money to get out of debt. Groucho was never supposed to be in this film, but the sponsors said that they wouldn't release it unless he was, so that they could bill it as a "Marx Brothers" picture. So footage of Groucho narrating parts of the story were shoehorned into the finished product. The result? Chico and Harpo are just as enchanting as ever, and Groucho--despite being displayed prominently on the movie posters--is relegated to a commentator. Since most Marx fans are Groucho fans first, Chico/Harpo fans second, this setup comes as a slap in the face, and the film gets trashed.
As such, if you watch the Marxes mainly to see Groucho's witty quips, this movie will bore you stiff. However, if you--like me--love the others just as much as Groucho (for me, Chico will ALWAYS be the funniest Marx Brother!) you'll be surprised at how good Love Happy really is. I'd go into the plot, but with a Marx movie, who really cares about the plot? It's our boys we're after. Chico plays an uproarious piano/violin duet, lusts after Ilona Massey, has some "tootsy-frootsy ice cream" and does some flawed mind-reading; Harpo tumbles through a washing machine, turns his fingers into candles, pulls a dog out of his coat and lusts after Ilona Massey. And Groucho narrates, searches, quips, ponders the situation, and...lusts after Ilona Massey. Oh!--and did I mention this film started the career of a young Marilyn Monroe?
In short, to a Chico/Harpo fan, this movie is as good as (and often better than) At the Circus or A Night in Casablanca. To a Groucho fan...well, that's why we have remote-controls.
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