Sunday, November 13, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Happiness Ahead (1934) - A Warner Archive DVD Review

One good Dick Powell movie from 1934 deserves another, so I followed up seeing DAMES (1934) last night at UCLA with HAPPINESS AHEAD (1934).

HAPPINESS AHEAD, a musical romantic comedy which costars Josephine Hutchinson, is available on DVD from the Warner Archive.

HAPPINESS AHEAD is a charmer with one of those standard 1930s plots which is fun no matter how many times you see it, especially when there's a great cast.

Hutchinson, in her first starring role, plays Joan Bradford, a wealthy young lady who is dissatisfied with the prospective husband (Gavin Gordon) her mother keeps throwing in her path.

Joan sneaks out of her parents' New Year's Eve party and meets a nice group of strangers at a working class nightclub. She and Bob (Powell), office manager at a window washing company, are taken with each other, and Joan soon finds herself renting an apartment in order to hide from Bob that she's wealthy.

Joan's charade grows ever more complicated as she and Bob fall in love...

This is simply a fun, bubbly movie, with Powell singing songs like "Pop! Goes Your Heart" and the title tune. Powell is at his cutest as he romances Joan, worlds away from his tough guy persona of the late '40s and early '50s.

I tend to associate Hutchinson most strongly with playing Miss Mamie Baldwin in THE HOMECOMING (1971), so it's fun seeing her in a completely different kind of part as the romantic lead.  She does a good job -- although I was puzzled that her upper-crust accent sounds almost British at times! Hutchinson has a nice rapport with John Halliday (THE PHILADELPHA STORY), who plays her devoted dad.

One of the funniest scenes occurs when Joan and Bob run into her ladies' maid (Ruth Donnelly) and chauffeur (Allen Jenkins) at a roller-skating rink, to their complete bafflement.

Bob's friends are played by familiar faces including Frank McHugh, Dorothy Dare, and Mary Treen. The cast also includes Mary Forbes, Jane Darwell, Marjorie Gateson, and James Burke.

HAPPINESS AHEAD was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and filmed by Tony Gaudio. The running time is 86 minutes.

For more on HAPPINESS AHEAD, please visit Jessica's post at Comet Over Hollywood. This film is recommended for a good time.

The Warner Archive DVD is a very nice print, and the disc includes the trailer.

Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered from the Warner Archive Collection at the WBShop.


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