Happy Go Lovely


1h 27m 1951
Happy Go Lovely

Brief Synopsis

A chorus girl becomes a star when gossip links her with a millionaire she's never met.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jul 8, 1951
Premiere Information
London opening: 7 Jun 1951
Production Company
Associated British Picture Corp., Ltd.; N. P. Rathvon and Co.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Edinburgh, Scotland, Great Britain; Elstree, England, Great Britain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,861ft

Synopsis

In Edinburgh, Scotland, beleaguered American theatrical producer Jack Frost convinces his creditors to give him two more days in which to come up with some money to pay for his latest show, Frolics to You . Because of Jack's financial woes, the show's star then quits in disgust. The next morning, broke chorus girl Janet Jones hitchhikes to the theater and is picked up by a friendly chauffeur named Bates. Racing to get Janet to her rehearsal on time, Bates is stopped by the police, and Janet arrives late. Jack argues with Janet and fires her. Unknown to Janet, Bates works for greeting card magnate B. G. Bruno, the richest man in Scotland, and when Bates returns to the theater with her forgotten purse, rumors begin to circulate that Janet is Bruno's fiancée. Seeing an opportunity, Jack rehires the stunned Janet and gives her the starring role. Later at her boardinghouse, Janet is further surprised when French dressmaker Madame Amanda, who previously had been hounding her to pay an outstanding bill, presents her with some expensive clothes. Janet's roommate and fellow chorine, Mae Thompson, then berates her for not telling her about Bruno, and Janet finally deduces Jack's mistake. Sure that Bruno will never find out, Mae convinces Janet to continue the ruse until the show opens. The next day, however, Bruno, a conservative bachelor, receives Madame Amanda's bill and determines to investigate the matter himself. At the theater, Janet mistakes Bruno for Paul Tracy, a reporter who is scheduled to interview her but has not yet arrived, and bemused by the charming American, Bruno does not correct her. When Bruno questions Janet about "B. G.," she concocts some innocuous tales about her friendship with the millionaire. Attracted to Bruno, Janet agrees to meet him for lunch the next day, but asks him not to print anything about her relationship with B. G. Jack, meanwhile, bombards the real Paul with his own outrageous stories about B. G. and Janet, and Paul hints broadly about the "romance" in his next column. During lunch, Janet angrily confronts Bruno about the column, but he convinces her that someone else wrote the offending passage. Janet then notices Bates's limousine outside the theater and says a hasty goodbye. Back at his office, Bruno drills Bates about his visit to the theater, and when Bates reveals how he came to meet Janet, Bruno becomes convinced that Janet is not a gold digger. Later, Mae and Janet, who has promised Jack she will bring B. G. to dinner the next night, pore over actors' photographs, hoping to find someone to impersonate B. G. When Bruno appears with flowers for Janet, the women conclude that he would make a perfect B. G., and persuade him to play the part. Filled with Janet and Mae's tips on how to act like a proper millionaire, Bruno accompanies Janet to the fancy restaurant where Jack's creditors are anxiously waiting to meet B. G. Despite his simple ways, Bruno convinces Jack and his creditors that he is B. G. and is considering investing in the show. After dinner, Janet reveals her love to Bruno and admits that she does not know B. G. The next morning, an ecstatic Bruno writes Jack a check for 10,000 pounds. Janet sees Bruno at the theater and, deducing his mission, confesses her ruse to Jack and informs him that Bruno's check is phony. Jack demands Bruno's arrest, and when an unsuspecting Bruno appears for opening night, he is chased by the police. While Janet hides him, Bruno tries to convince her that he really is B. G., but she refuses to believe him. After Bruno finally is caught, however, one of the officers identifies him as B. G. Much relieved, Jack retrieves Bruno's check, while Bruno and Janet enjoy a long kiss.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jul 8, 1951
Premiere Information
London opening: 7 Jun 1951
Production Company
Associated British Picture Corp., Ltd.; N. P. Rathvon and Co.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
Great Britain and United States
Location
Edinburgh, Scotland, Great Britain; Elstree, England, Great Britain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
7,861ft

Articles

Happy Go Lovely


Happy Go Lovely (1951), the first musical film made in Britain following World War II, was an Anglo-American production set at a film festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. The story revolves around a misunderstanding involving a Scottish millionaire (David Niven) and a young American dancer (Vera-Ellen) who hitches a ride in his limousine. She mistakes him for a reporter and, in turn, becomes the sensation of the festival when rumors fly about a romance. Kay Kendall, a couple of years away from film stardom, has a brief role as a secretary. The movie was independently produced and released in the U.S. by RKO Radio Pictures.

The movie was unusual in that it is tailored specifically to the talents of vivacious Vera-Ellen, although she is second-billed to Niven. The lissome dancer-actress had appeared in films for Samuel Goldwyn and MGM in the capacity of leading lady to such stars as Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, and was often showcased to brilliant effect in the musical numbers. Unfortunately, she never quite emerged as a star in her own right.

An accomplished ballerina who had been a Radio City Music Hall Rockette and a Broadway dancer before entering films, Vera-Ellen also was an engaging actress who had a deft way with a comedy line. Biographer David Soren wrote of her performance in Happy Go Lovely that "She makes her role believably sweet rather than frantic or simply comedic. Vera-Ellen has the chance to show herself as a talented romantic comedienne and generates real chemistry with Niven....For once, the producer has been willing to respect her talent and give her a chance to display her burgeoning dramatic skills, and Val Guest's witty script makes the most of the ridiculous mistaken identity plot and generates real laughs."

Producer: Marcel Hellman
Director: Bruce Humberstone
Screenplay: Val Guest
Cinematography: Erwin Hillier
Art Direction: John Howell
Editing: Bert Bates
Original Music: Mischa Spoliansky
Costume Design: Anna Duse
Principal Cast: David Niven (B.G. Bruno), Vera-Ellen (Janet Jones), Cesar Romero (John Frost), Bobby Howes (Charlie), Diane Hart (Mae), Gordon Jackson (Paul Tracy).
C-98m.

by Roger Fristoe
Happy Go Lovely

Happy Go Lovely

Happy Go Lovely (1951), the first musical film made in Britain following World War II, was an Anglo-American production set at a film festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. The story revolves around a misunderstanding involving a Scottish millionaire (David Niven) and a young American dancer (Vera-Ellen) who hitches a ride in his limousine. She mistakes him for a reporter and, in turn, becomes the sensation of the festival when rumors fly about a romance. Kay Kendall, a couple of years away from film stardom, has a brief role as a secretary. The movie was independently produced and released in the U.S. by RKO Radio Pictures. The movie was unusual in that it is tailored specifically to the talents of vivacious Vera-Ellen, although she is second-billed to Niven. The lissome dancer-actress had appeared in films for Samuel Goldwyn and MGM in the capacity of leading lady to such stars as Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, and was often showcased to brilliant effect in the musical numbers. Unfortunately, she never quite emerged as a star in her own right. An accomplished ballerina who had been a Radio City Music Hall Rockette and a Broadway dancer before entering films, Vera-Ellen also was an engaging actress who had a deft way with a comedy line. Biographer David Soren wrote of her performance in Happy Go Lovely that "She makes her role believably sweet rather than frantic or simply comedic. Vera-Ellen has the chance to show herself as a talented romantic comedienne and generates real chemistry with Niven....For once, the producer has been willing to respect her talent and give her a chance to display her burgeoning dramatic skills, and Val Guest's witty script makes the most of the ridiculous mistaken identity plot and generates real laughs." Producer: Marcel Hellman Director: Bruce Humberstone Screenplay: Val Guest Cinematography: Erwin Hillier Art Direction: John Howell Editing: Bert Bates Original Music: Mischa Spoliansky Costume Design: Anna Duse Principal Cast: David Niven (B.G. Bruno), Vera-Ellen (Janet Jones), Cesar Romero (John Frost), Bobby Howes (Charlie), Diane Hart (Mae), Gordon Jackson (Paul Tracy). C-98m. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film opens with a brief voice-over narration, describing the city of Edinburgh. The end credits note that the picture was "distributed throughout the Eastern Hemisphere of the World by Associated British-Pathé Ltd." N. Peter Rathvon, whose company co-produced this film with Associated British Picture Corp., was a former president of RKO Radio Pictures. Rathvon also controlled Motion Picture Capital Corp., the copyright claimant. According to contemporary sources, Rathvon "set up" the film in Hollywood with British producer Marcel Hellman.
       Happy Go Lovely marked the first time that prominent Scottish character actor Gordon Jackson appeared in a U.S. co-production. The Los Angeles Times reported in December 1949 that Hellman first considered Celeste Holm for the role of "Janet Jones." Principal photography was completed at Elstree Studios in Elstree, England, but as noted in the Daily Variety review, some location shooting took place in Edinburgh. The cost of production was approximately $840,000, according to the Hollywood Citizen-News review. The film's running time in Great Britain was ten minutes longer than the U.S. time. Modern sources note that singer Eve Boswell dubbed Vera-Ellen's singing voice for the picture.