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Joy of Living (1938)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 6 May 1938 (USA)
Broadway star Margaret Garrett has spent her whole life working to support her sponging relatives. When she meets carefree Dan Webster, she learns how to have fun for the first time.



(screen play), (screen play) (as Graham Baker) | 3 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Maggie Garret
... Dan Brewster
... Minerva Garret
... Dennis Garret
... Harrison
... Potter
... Salina Pine
... Mike
... Cafe Owner
Frank Milan ... Bert Pine
Dorothy Steiner ... Dotsy Pine
Estelle Steiner ... Betsy Pine
... Marie
... Orchestra Leader
... Mac


Broadway star Margaret Garrett has spent her whole life working to support her sponging relatives. When she meets carefree Dan Webster, she learns how to have fun for the first time. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

6 May 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alegria de Viver  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dan Brewster (Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ) repeatedly imitates Donald Duck, and appears to be dubbed by the original actor who did the cartoon character's voice. See more »


When Dan flies off the end of 'Crack the Whip' into the seated men, the initial shot shows the men on chairs close to the fence edging the rink but the shots of the crash show the chairs some distance from the fence. See more »


Margaret 'Maggie' Garret: [looking at her maid under the steam ] Do you have to stay all day and smoke that thing?
See more »


References Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) See more »


Just Let Me Look at You
(1938) (uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields
Sung by Irene Dunne accompanied by a phonograph in her limousine
Reprised by her in the courtroom
See more »

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User Reviews

Light entertainment starring Dunne and Fairbanks Jr.
2 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

Irene Dunne is glamorous Maggie Garret, famous Broadway star, who is supporting her family in "Joy of Living," a 1938 comedy also starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Alice Brady, Jean Dixon, Guy Kibbee, Lucille Ball, and Eric Blore. When Dunne meets the wealthy, carefree Dan Webster, he tries to show her what it's like to have fun and also to convince her that her family is freeloading off of her.

This film is so lightweight it practically drifts upward. Dunne sings the same song at least 40 times (or it felt like it), "Just Let Me Look at You." It was okay the first time; after that, you longed for another number. Dunne was adept at both comedy and drama, and she sang well. In comedy, she had the knack of appearing to have a good time and of improvising (which in "The Awful Truth," she was). I loved her scene in the courtroom when the judge says a respected person can be the parole officer/civilian guardian for Dan Webster, whom she has accused of stalking her. "You must know lots of important people," she says. Webster shakes his head. "The only one I know is you." Dunne purses her lips and, frustrated, says under her breath, "What a pity," while it never occurs to her that she's being set up. The roller skating sequence is very funny; the scene in the bar goes on a little too long.

Fairbanks, a very versatile and charming actor, is lively and attractive as Dan. Lucille Ball has a small role as Maggie's whiny sister/understudy. As Maggie's mother, Alice Brady is quite dramatic and overblown, as she tended to be, having come from the stage. However, Brady was an excellent actress, and her acting was appropriate for the role.

Nothing special, and I would submit that in order to enjoy it, you have to be a fan of Irene Dunne's.

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