powered by AFI
The working titles of this film were Blondes Up, Hearts and Diamonds and Blonde Heaven. The title card reads: "Love Happy Starring The Marx Brothers." Production manager Ray Heinz's name was misspelled in the credits as "Heinze." The film includes a running narration by Groucho Marx's character, "Sam Grunion," who addresses the audience directly at several points. According to modern sources, the original script of the film, entitled Diamonds in the Pavement, was written by Ben Hecht and Frank Tashlin, but little of that script remains in the final film. In a modern interview, Tashlin recalled that Hecht developed the original story for star Harpo Marx, but that the film "never came out the way it was planned...because of a dreadful producer by the name of Lester Cowan who botched it up." However, the rumor of Hecht's involvement caused the film to be banned in the United Kingdom, where Hecht was reviled for his outspoken criticism of the British occupation of Palestine. In 1948, Britain's Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association imposed a boycott of Hecht's films, and until the ban was lifted in 1952, Hecht was often forced to work without screen credit. According to an October 18, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item, Artists Alliance representative Robert Armstrong responded to an inquiry about Hecht's participation in the film by saying that nine different writers had worked on the script, and that to date, "Hecht has not even applied for screen credit."
Portions of the film were shot on location in New York City. Hollywood Reporter production charts indicate that production began in mid-July 1948, but although the film was listed in the charts until September 10, 1948, the number of days in production did not change after August 20, 1948. According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, some exhibitors objected to the final rooftop scene, in which Harpo eludes the "Zoto brothers" by hiding behind various neon signs advertising actual products, such as Bulova watches and Kool cigarettes. In a letter to Joseph I. Breen, MPAA Vice President Francis S. Harmon reported that a representative of a large chain of exhibitors had called him to complain about the "advertising plugs" and stated that his circuit would not book the film. Breen responded that the PCA was not authorized to withhold approval of a film because it contained commercial advertising. Modern sources contend that financial problems near the end of production forced Cowan to sell advertising space in the chase scene, a highly unusual practice at the time. Love Happy marked the last time Groucho, Chico and Harpo Marx appeared together as a team, although they made cameo appearances in the all-star cast of the 1957 Warner Bros. release The Story of Mankind (see below).