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Star of the Month: Dick Powell
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Remind Me

Happiness Ahead

Thursday December, 13 2018 at 01:30 PM

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Mervyn LeRoy and Dick Powell worked a nice switch on the plot of their Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), in which blue blood Powell went slumming to find success on his own as a supposedly penniless singer-songwriter. For this amiable comedy with music, it's the leading lady, Josephine Hutchinson, who forsakes her patrician roots after falling for window washer Powell on New Years Eve. She rents a tenement apartment so he'll thing she's another member of the unemployed, but things get a little complicated when he spots her collecting her allowance from daddy and draws the wrong conclusions. Although the film lacks Busby Berkeley's eye-popping musical numbers, it features a quintet of songs that show off Powell's tenor and his ability to milk a comic number, particularly when paired with one of Warner's most reliable comics, Frank McHugh. Making her starring debut after drawing attention as the title character in Eva La Galliene's stage adaption of Alice in Wonderland, Josephine Hutchinson is charmingly serious in her pursuit of Powell, while the film also offers strong turns for members of the studio's stock company, including Allen Jenkins, Ruth Donnelly and Marjorie Gateson. The film did well enough to merit two remakes, as Here Comes Happiness (1941), with Edward Norris and Mildred Coles, and Love and Learn (1947), with Jack Carson and Martha Vickers.

By Frank Miller

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