An American boy and a French girl run away from a Swiss school making for Paris to reunite with their parents. The boy's father and the girl's mother join forces, despite cultural differences, to search for their kids.
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While setting up a business in Paris, American widower Michael Andrews has placed his adolescent son, Danny Andrews, in a Swiss boarding school as Mike has no time during this phase of the business set-up to look after Danny on his own. Mike receives distressing news that Danny has run away from the school with another student, Parisienne Janine Duval. This news does not sit well with either Mike or Janine's divorcée mother, Suzanne Duval. Suzanne believes Danny is a delinquent influence on her daughter, while Mike believes Janine is an enabler as non-French speaking Danny could not manage outside the school without some language assistance. They learn from another student that Danny is heading to Paris to show Mike that he is independent enough to live in Paris with Mike, while Janine tagged along because she sees herself as Danny's girl and as she has not seen her mother in some time. As the children have not been gone long and as there is only one road between the school and Paris,... Written by
"Love And Try To Be Loved And Life Is A Happy Road"
The Happy Road was Gene Kelly's next to last film on his MGM contract and this was a personal project in which he not only starred in, but directed and produced as well. Probably something to pass the time of day while he was waiting for his final full blown musical Les Girls.
The film is best however when the kids are in front of the camera. The very simple story involves Kelly's son Bobby Clark who runs away from the Swiss boarding school his father has put him in to go to Paris and be with him. He also wants to prove how self reliant is. His good friend Brigette Fossey decides to join him on the odyssey and prove the same to her divorcée mother Barbara Laage.
Whatever else they do, the kids prove they're self reliant, they have the French police totally at their wits end, not to mention a bunch of NATO troops out on maneuvers, embarrassing their commanding officer Michael Redgrave no end.
Kelly is a concerned father, but he's also a poster child for the ugly American. He wasn't doing all that much for Franco-American relations with his exasperation about the French way of doing things. Laage kind of smooths out the rough edges in him by the time film ends.
With a title song sung over the opening credits by Maurice Chevalier and the film shot in France, The Happy Road will not rank as one of Gene Kelly's great films. But it's a pleasant diversion and very good for juvenile audiences.
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