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H. Bruce Humberstone,
Twenty-eight year old Jeannie MacLean has led a simple life taking care of her frugal grandfather in the small town of Heatherdale, Vermont. After her grandfather passes away, Jeannie, who has no money even to pay the funeral bills, learns that he has left all of his money to her, money she didn't know he had, in the amount of $4,952, which to her is a small fortune. Before she settles down with whatever she will now do instead of taking care of him, Jeannie decides to take a trip to Scotland, most specifically to Edinburgh as a jumping off point to where their ancestors are from, namely Loch Lomond. En route via Paris (the only last minute flight she can get), she meets American inventor and businessman Stanley Smith from Boise, Idaho, he who is going to Paris on business in trying to sell a combination washing machine/ironing machine he invented. He becomes her knight in shining armor as he helps her, unaccustomed to the ways of travel, with one bind after another all the way to ... Written by
Let's Be Happy is a musical film shot in Scotland by a British film company and released in America under the Allied Artist banner. It also has two American stars, Tony Martin and Vera-Ellen and both made their final big screen appearance in this production. Musicals were certainly becoming rarer and rarer on the screen by 1957.
If people have followed my reviews on Tony Martin's films, one my criticisms is why he was never teamed with his wife Cyd Charisse in any movie. Cyd was under contract to MGM and Tony did occasional films there as well. Both would move on to the nightclub phase of their careers as their primary venue and they were one of the biggest acts on that circuit for many years. I think Let's Be Happy was created with both of them in mind, but apparently Cyd was otherwise occupied with work at MGM. She did do Silk Stockings that same year over at that much bigger studio. So Vera-Ellen was brought in instead.
The story is a slight one and the songs by Nicholas Brodszky and Paul Francis Webster are pretty forgettable, but they're done well as sang by Tony and danced to by Vera-Ellen. She's a Vermont farm girl who gets an inheritance from her grandfather of $5000.00 approximately, kept in a secret compartment because apparently grandfather did not trust banks. And as a good Scots girl, she decides to visit the old country.
She meets Tony on the plane and the two seem to hit it off. But along the way an impoverished title played by Robert Flemyng gets the idea that Vera-Ellen is really loaded and in the tradition of European nobility down on its luck, they woo the rich American.
Let's Be Happy does boast some really nice cinematography of Edinburgh, a city which definitely believes in keeping its ancient look up for the tourists. It's a pleasant enough 90+ minutes of entertainment, but I do so wish Tony Martin had done this with Cyd Charisse.
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