Let's Be Happy (1957) Poster

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Any film starring Vera-Ellen and the Edinburgh festival is worth a look!
jinchelsea15 July 2012
I saw this film in glorious Cinemascope and color at the Palace Theatre when it first opened in 1957, and was already enchanted with the dancing charms of Vera-Ellen, certainly one of, if not the best dancers in Hollywood history. No, she didn't sing (always dubbed, although early stage recordings display a fun dancer's voice), and her acting relied heavily on her charm and good looks, but when she danced, watch out!

The film is a slight vehicle for the charms of Vera-Ellen and Tony Martin, star baritone of various MGM films of the 40s and 50s (and as Robert Osborne points out on TCM, you expect this to be an MGM film, but it's one of the few Allied Artists musicals of the period), complete with songs written by composer Nicholas Brodszky (Love Me Or Leave Me). At least it's not studio-bound; it was filmed in 1956 at the dazzling Edinburgh Festival, as well as other beautiful Scotland locales.

You will long to see the original Cinemascope print, but all that seems to exist is a pan and scan version. Better than nothing, and it is the only chance to see the film, which TCM just began showing in the past year, after it had been seemingly lost for the past 20-odd years. But now we need a proper print in the original Scope on DVD. Come on, Warner Archives, you've released every grade B and C film known and unknown, give a little TLC to LET'S BE HAPPY.
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A minor 50's musical: in Edinburgh!!
dubyah117 May 2004
A minor 50's musical with the unusual backdrop of Edinburgh! Vera-Ellen is the biggest name, if that's any gauge, and she seems to have been cast for the circumference of her cinched waist. Watch her attempting to obey the direction to NOT look in the camera: her eye movements bring to mind Carol Burnett's over-the-top Norah Desmond.

The storyline has a slightly screwball premise so dear to musicals; 'young' Jeannie [Vera-Ellen in her last major role] goes to Europe for a vacation and spends her entire inheritance of $4000; two cads, one a helpful Yankee [Tony Martin, stalwart of lesser musicals and Cyd Charisse's husband] and the other a poor Scottish laird [Robert Flemyng] who believes her to be a million-heiress vie for her affections. An odd jazz-ballet number reminds you it was made in the late 50's. The city of Edinburgh and some stunning gowns co-star. ** out of **** stars
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Wooing the 'Rich' American Girl
bkoganbing24 January 2011
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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Made me laugh out loud.
Ken West14 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
A minor musical, to be sure, but some of the dialogue reminds us that things have not changed much. How about the bell boy who, when asked by the hick from Vermont, if she should tip him, says with Scottish reserve: "yes, it has been done.". When Tony Martin, appliance magnate, proposes to Vera Ellen, he ups the ante with "You don't know what you're getting -- a washer that irons!".

A musical with bagpipes! A lord who acknowledges that he needs tourist dollars (before he admits that he needs to marry for money), an American that can out-duel a French customs-clerk!

How can one not be affected by this innocent charm!?
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Let's Be Happy- Can't With this Film **
edwagreen2 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Weak musical despite the stars Tony Martin and the tragic Vera-Ellen. The latter comes off as a real greenhorn in the opening scenes. She is Molly Brown without the Debbie Reynolds talent.

They should have made more of the Lord, who, actually broke and thinks that Ellen has a fortune. The fortune consisting of $4952.00.

As for Martin, he is give little insofar as the material and the songs he sings are really for the canaries. He has a wonderful voice so he should have been given the songs that match his voice range.

Who was the redhead who was infatuated with Martin? She reminded me, without the accent, of Maureen Arthur of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

As for "Let's Be Happy," it's totally benign
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Not without charm
verna-a28 September 2012
This film wouldn't ever be listed as a major musical, but I found it likable. There are hackneyed elements to the story but it moves along well and good use is made of minor characters. The two stars obviously both have more than a few miles on the clock - Martin has a very lived-in face, and Vera-Ellen could use a botox injection, but they are both agreeable presences. These days (I'd like to think) their age would be acknowledged in a story line which gave them each a second-time around background, but not in those days. The 50's fashions look great on Vera-Ellen and the redhead opposition. The Paris and Edinburgh locations are milked to advantage. I enjoyed the touches of Britishness in the "lord" and the hotel staff. The dances are sometimes slight, but enjoyable. Altogether quite a lot to like, worth sticking with as a pleasant piece of escapism.
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misctidsandbits19 September 2011
I like a lot of the older movies, including B movies and less than stellar musicals. While this one had the Scottish scenery going for it, that's about all as far as I am concerned. Tried to go it, but just couldn't. Too many "ouchies." Vera-Ellen, while good in other things, was a bit painful to watch in this. Same for Tony Martin. The redhead was, to me, hard on the eyes and nerves. The lord character was lackluster.

Surprised at the comments of other reviewers that Cyd Charise should have had the female lead. Good grief. Get some proportion. While Tony Martin was married to Cyd Charise, there is a huge difference in their movie presence and draw. They don't cast parts to be cutesy.

Ms. Charise played and co-starred with major stars in top films. Mr. Martin never did. There's no comparison. This was way too low a production for Ms. Charise. While Mr. Martin enjoyed success as a recording artist, a strong actor, he wasn't. I didn't even care for his singing in this. Forget the acting, on anyone's part.

Definitely give this one a pass - as in pass up. Good performances can override a bad script/plot. That didn't happen here.
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What's not to be happy about ?
davidallen-8412213 July 2017
I really must come to the defence of "Let's Be Happy"; a near-forgotten little gem.My family and I enjoyed this film twice,on it's initial release,so I'll admit to a certain amount of nostalgia in my review.This was the last time Vera-Ellen appeared on screen;a pity,given her talent and charm.It's not difficult to share her enthusiasm as she travels to Scotland to enjoy her inheritance and while the plot may be considered tame by the many detractors,there is a naive appeal about the way it all unfolds.Robert Flemyng essays a certain Gaelic charm as he escorts the heroine on a guided tour of Scotland (nice location shots too).This was also the last time Tony Martin appeared on screen in a musical.The songs are pleasant and he is in good voice,particularly singing 'One Is A Lonely Number";a lovely,haunting ballad.Three other musicals released in N.Z. in 1957;"Silk Stockings", ''Funny Face" and "Les Girls",may now enjoy a 'cult' following,but,strange as it may seem, they all irritate me in ways that "Let's Be Happy" does not.I'm looking forward to replacing my poor quality video copy with the wide-screen DVD.
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Not Rocking in Scotland
wes-connors3 July 2011
After inheriting some money, small Vermont town dancer Vera-Ellen (as Jeannie MacLean) decides to visit Scotland. On the plane, she meets singing Idaho businessman Tony Martin (as Stanley Smith). Romance begins, but things get complicated when she meets dashing Robert Flemyng (as James "Jimmy" MacNairn), a broke English Lord looking for a rich American wife. Meanwhile, Mr. Martin has caught the eye of sexy red-haired Zena Marshall (as Helene). The film's tagline "Tony Rocks 'Em!! Vera Rolls 'Em!!" points to how the two early 1950s stars were being falsely promoted to a new audience, who were not going to find any "Rock 'n' Roll" here. "Let's Be Happy" features nice color and setting.

**** Let's Be Happy (5/8/57) Henry Levin ~ Vera-Ellen, Tony Martin, Robert Flemyng, Zena Marshall
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sheer agony
blanche-210 November 2015
"Let's Be Happy" is a 1957 musical starring Vera-Ellen, Tony Martin, and Robert Flemyng.

It concerns a young woman left some money who decides it to spend it on a trip to the city of her ancestors, Edinburgh, and have an adventure. She meets an attractive salesman (Martin) and an impoverished Lord (Flemyng), whom she takes up with when she thinks the salesman has been dishonest with her.

I watched this film because I love Tony Martin's voice, but to be honest, a chimpanzee could have performed these songs.

Vera-Ellen was a pretty woman, but she wasn't much of an actress, and she doesn't look particularly well here except in one scene, where she wears a beautiful, form-fitting blue gown and looks stunning. Also, for a dancer, she sure didn't do much of it.

The music ranged from awful to merely passable.

The location shots were lovely.

I was surprised this film was made. It is very mediocre.
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Watching the movie musical die before your eyes
marcslope4 December 2013
An independent feature made at the very, very end of the movie musical's golden age, and the desperation shows. Vera-Ellen, looking unhealthily slim and not dancing much, is a Vermont lass who inherits enough money to fly to Edinburgh, where she keeps running into Tony Martin and is wooed by impoverished lord Robert Flemyng. Martin, looking beefy and well past his leading-man prime, sings everywhere--at airport customs, in a Scottish dining car, at Vera's Vermont bungalow--and the songs, by Nicholas Brodzky and Paul Francis Webster, are neatly integrated enough but not what you'd call exciting. Nor is Henry Levin's direction, and even the Edinburgh location shooting looks rather skimpy. Wan storytelling, no-name supporting cast, so-so songs… No wonder it didn't do well.
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Last film of fading lead
malcolmgsw2 January 2016
This was the last film for both for Tonyartin,often out of tune,and Vera Ellen,out of form.The story is silly,the music mediocre and the dances are dull.This film highlights all that was wrong with a genre that was going extinct.When this film was being made Bill Haley and Elvis were wowing cinema-goers.The leads were playing a style that might have worked in the forties but was becoming passé.Martin was 44 and Vera Ellen was 36 when this film was made which emphasised the problems of the musicals.All the main musical stars,Astaire,Crosby,Kelly,Sinatra were middle aged and would have to turn to dramatic roles to prolong their film careers.Colour and scope do a lot for Edinburgh but little for the stats
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