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The Happy Time (1952)

Approved  |   |  Comedy  |  3 December 1952 (Denmark)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 339 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 1 critic

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 »

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Title: The Happy Time (1952)

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Nominated for 4 Golden Globes. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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
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Storyline

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) »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

Uncle Desmond Bonnard: What's the occasion, this time?
Grandpere Bonnard: The Widow Latouche is waiting; I'm late.
Uncle Desmond Bonnard: Ho ho ho! It will unscrew your billiard table!
Uncle Louis Bonnard: Believe me, not even a young man can go out every night dancing and never sleep. Something will collapse: maybe the arteries or the veins...
Grandpere Bonnard: The one who knows of a better way to die-will he step forward?
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Avalon
(uncredited)
Music by Vincent Rose
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A coming of age tale that is beyond charming
26 November 2007 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Three generations of French film charisma come together in this marvelous film about a family of French Canadians living in Ottawa (not Quebec!). Charles Boyer, in one of his earliest "character" roles after decades of being a leading-man lover, joins the up-and-coming Louis Jourdan and the old theatrical hand Marcel Dalio to make up the Bonnard family: Grandpere (Dalio) lives with Jacques (Boyer), his wife Susan (Hunt), and their son, Bibi (Driscoll). Jacques' bibulous, layabout brother Louis (Kasznar) lives across the street, with his shrewish, seamstress wife Felice and their possibly unmarriageable daughter. Desmonde, the third brother, is a traveling salesman with a rakish reputation--not unlike his father--who stays with Jacques' family when he's in Ottawa and who is a hero in the eyes of Bibi.

The story itself is small: Desmond comes to stay; Jacques, who plays violin and conducts the orchestra in a small burlesque and movie house, brings a sacked magician's assistant home to be the new maid; Louis storms out of his home and moves in on Jacques' porch; Grandpere falls ill; and Bibi deals with troubles at school and in the heart. But the writing and characterization are so true to life and moving that one gets utterly caught up.

The movie was based on a successful Broadway play (with Kasznar reprising his stage role, along with the young actress who plays girl-next-door Peggy), which in turn was based on a series of stories by Robert Fontaine about his own growing-up. The atmosphere is imbued with a certain French sophistication, but even more with the love and compassion all these members of the family have for each other. The conversation that the father, Jacques, has with his adolescent son, Bibi, as he tries to explain the tension between love and desire could be used successfully as a template for any such talk in any family on earth. But it is not just moving; much of the dialogue is as funny as in any family comedy you can think of.

I had never heard of this film, and only discovered it via Turner Classic Movies guest programmer. Sadly, it is not available in any video medium; I can't think of a better family film. If it comes around again on TCM, be sure to give it a try!


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