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The Happy Time (1952)

Approved | | Comedy | 3 December 1952 (Denmark)
Spring inspires lessons in love and life for a French family in 1920s Ottawa, especially for teenage Robert, who's blind to the attentions of an American neighbor girl, because he's ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (stories) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jacques Bonnard
Uncle Desmond Bonnard
Susan Bonnard
Robert 'Bibi' Bonnard
Mignonette Chappuis
Uncle Louis Bonnard
Grandpere Bonnard
Felice Bonnard
Jack Raine ...
Mr. Frye - School Principal
Alfred Grattin
Peggy O'Hare
Gene Collins ...
Jimmy Bishop
Ann Faber ...
Yvonne Bonnard
Kathryn Sheldon ...
Miss Tate - Schoolteacher
Edward Clark ...
Dr. Marchaud


Spring inspires lessons in love and life for a French family in 1920s Ottawa, especially for teenage Robert, who's blind to the attentions of an American neighbor girl, because he's infatuated with the beautiful new maid, fleeing life as a magician's assistant. Robert's mother bemoans some of the Bonnard family male role models available to Robert: his party animal grandfather, roguish traveling salesman uncle Desmond, and an uncle who carries a water cooler filled with wine everywhere while his wife does all the work. As Desmond's temporarily off the road, he also targets the maid. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on play | See All (1) »




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Release Date:

3 December 1952 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

Mein Sohn entdeckt die Liebe  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Marsha Hunt was offered the same part in the original Broadway production but turned it down. The part ultimately went to Leora Dana, who met and married actor Kurt Kaszner during the run of the play. See more »


Robert 'Bibi' Bonnard: It's not Uncle Desmond's fault! Only Peggy O'Hare's. When the principal asks her if I drew the picture, she says yes, I drew it! It's a lie, I didn't draw it!
Susan Bonnard: But why would Peggy tell a lie like that about you?
Robert 'Bibi' Bonnard: I don't understand! She kicks me, she trips me, she spills ink on my books!
[the brothers begin to exchange knowing smiles]
Robert 'Bibi' Bonnard: Why does she do this to me?
Jacques Bonnard: Ah!
Uncle Desmond Bonnard: Oh ho!
Robert 'Bibi' Bonnard: But why?
Jacques Bonnard: Well, Bibi, it is that Peggy wishes to be your girl.
Robert 'Bibi' Bonnard: My girl?
See more »


Features The Son of the Sheik (1926) See more »


Hungarian Rhapsody
Music by Franz Liszt
Arranged by John Leipold
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Bobby Driscoll Comes of Age
23 November 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Bobby Driscoll (as Robert "Bibi" Bonnard) is a teenager "coming of age" in 1920s Ottawa. Mr. Driscoll's uncle, traveling salesman Louis Jourdan (as Desmond Bonnard), is away when the film begins; he enjoys a "playboy" lifestyle, but returns soon, for a visit. Driscoll's father, Charles Boyer (as Jacques Bonnard) appears to have grown out of an extended career of his own, as a "ladies' man"; and his father, randy Marcel Dalio (as Grandpa Bonnard), recognizes "la puberty" is beginning for Driscoll…

Everyone in the cast is outstanding; but, "The Happy Time" is, more than anything, Driscoll's film. He more than holds his own, among the distinguished cast. Watching Driscoll perform in this film makes his sudden slide from favor all the more puzzling - he may not have grown up according to the Disney studio's specifications, but few do. As evidenced here, Driscoll should have had a long working career as, if anything, a comedian; "…only one is from the burlesque, the other was obtained privately," he says, arriving at the dinner table wearing garters.

Director Richard Fleischer does Earl Felton's smartly written play justice. The film is full of nice "symbolic" touches - the canary, the girl's braces, and the medals appearing inside more than one of the characters' jackets. While beautifully done, the film's ill-mannered presentation of sex, love, and gender roles seems very queer; probably, the film's themes held significantly more charm in the 1950s. Also worth watching for Kurt Kasznar (repeating his stage role as a possibly alcoholic neighboring uncle), Marsha Hunt (whom Driscoll seems to take after, in looks), Linda Christian (recalling of Eva Gabor), Jimmy Bishop (a young Chuck Connors), and Marlene Cameron (entering her own "happy time").

******** The Happy Time (10/30/52) Richard Fleischer ~ Bobby Driscoll, Charles Boyer, Louis Jourdan, Kurt Kasznar

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