Happy Landing


1h 42m 1938

Brief Synopsis

The Bride's Fair in a small Norwegian village is interrupted by the forced landing of Jimmy Hall (Don Ameche) and Duke Sargent (Cesar Romero), two Americans lost - really, really lost - while flying from New York to Paris. Jimmy is the manager of Duke, a publicity-seeking band leader. An old superstition points to Duke as the appointed husband-to-be (not likely) of Trudy Ericksen (Sonja Henie), daughter of villager Herr Ericksen (Jean Hersholt). Duke, however, has an understanding with Flo Kelly (Ethel Merman) back in the states, and leaves for Paris. Trudy follows him to New York, only to find he has left for Florida with Flo. Jimmy takes Trudy skating in Central Park, falls in love with her and is so impressed that he gets her a contract to skate professionally. Duke hears of her success and flies back and begins a series of romantic entanglements.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bread, Butter and Rhythm, Hot and Happy
Release Date
Jan 28, 1938
Premiere Information
New York opening: 21 Jan 1938
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Truckee, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,200ft (12 reels)

Synopsis

As a publicity stunt, Duke Sargent, the famous bandleader, songwriter, nightclub star and ladies' man, is to fly the Atlantic to Paris to make a nightclub date. When he does not show up at the airport, Jimmy Hall, Duke's manager, locates him in the apartment of singer Flo Kelly, with whom he has fallen in love. Although Duke maintains that he does not want to make the flight, Jimmy convinces him to go by telling him of the thousands of other girls he may meet and the publicity the voyage will bring. Flo temporarily stops them when she reveals that she has recorded Duke's marriage proposal, but during a struggle, Jimmy breaks the record and manages to get Duke out. The plane is forced down near a small Norwegian village, where Duke becomes infatuated with Trudy Ericksen, who hopes to marry a wealthy, handsome, "princely" gentleman. He accompanies her to a dance, and when he asks her to dance for a second time, which, unknown to him, signifies a marriage proposal in Trudy's community, she readily accepts. Jimmy realizes that Duke unwittingly has become engaged and spirits him away in their plane. At Duke's club in Paris, he falls in love again with Flo, who is visiting with her new paramour, a wealthy count. Later in New York, Jimmy finds Trudy in their hotel lobby, and she tells him that she came to find Duke, whom she thinks Jimmy took from her. Jimmy convinces her that Duke does not care for her, but then Duke, who thinks Trudy's story would make good publicity, acts as if he is madly in love with her. Trudy now tells Jimmy that she hates him. At the Carleton Roof nightclub, Trudy witnesses Duke romance Flo, whose count has dropped her. When Jimmy learns that Duke plans to go with Flo to Florida, he quits and then finds Trudy outside the club, where she apologizes to him. They walk to Central Park, where Jimmy tries to give Trudy some "tips" at skating and learns that she is an expert. He then gets her work performing on ice, and soon she tours the country as the "Queen of the Silver Skates," the star of her own show. In Detroit, Jimmy is about to propose, when he receives a wire that the Carleton Roof is offering her $1,500 to appear for two weeks. Jimmy is disappointed to see Trudy's excitement at the anticipation that Duke now will have to take notice of her. Before Trudy's opening in New York, Jimmy finds a new manager for her and tells her he is leaving. Just then, he receives a desperate call from Duke in Florida, who pleads with him to come and help him escape the wrath of Flo, who is incensed at his new infatuation with a blonde. After Jimmy leaves, Trudy confesses to his cohort, Al Mahoney, that she loves Jimmy, and Al reveals that Jimmy loves her. He then wires Jimmy the news. In Miami, Flo and Duke make up, but she gets angry again when she learns about Duke's call to Jimmy and throws a vase at Jimmy, which hits Duke. Flo then tells reporters that Duke and Jimmy battled over her and signs a warrant for Jimmy's arrest for assault and battery, and for allegedly poisoning her Pekinese. Meanwhile, Duke, who has flown back to New York, meets Trudy at the airport. Piqued after reading the newspaper accounts about the Florida incident, Trudy asks Duke to marry her. Unable to resist an attractive woman, Duke agrees. When Flo, who still loves Duke, reads about his wedding plans, she gets Jimmy out of jail to help. Flo has a retraction of the story printed, and then she and Jimmy return to New York, where Flo threatens Duke with another recording. Trudy sees that Jimmy is not in love with Flo, and she and Jimmy marry, as do Duke and Flo, after which Duke plays Flo's record and finds it to be a song. Back at Trudy's hometown, the happy couples skate to the song.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bread, Butter and Rhythm, Hot and Happy
Release Date
Jan 28, 1938
Premiere Information
New York opening: 21 Jan 1938
Production Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Truckee, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9,200ft (12 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Bread, Butter and Rhythm, Hot and Happy and Happy Ending. This was Norwegian ice-skating Olympic champion Sonja Henie's third film. Henie had ranked as the eighth biggest money-making star in the 1937 Motion Picture Herald poll of exhibitors, and in 1938, she moved up to third. She also recently had been recognized by the Norwegian government with the Cross of the Order of St. Olaf. Studio head Darryl Zanuck was very involved in the development of this film, as is evidenced in notes from his conferences in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. According to these notes, the character of the orchestra leader, although first suggested for Don Ameche, was later developed for Adolphe Menjou, and Ameche was given the role of the manager. At the beginning of the film, a newspaper headline announces that "Duke Sargent's" plane is to carry 100,000 ping pong balls on its Transatlantic flight, and "Jimmy" confirms a reporter's remark that the ping pong balls will keep the plane afloat if it is forced down. This scene is a reference to a recent flight by composer, singer, actor and aviator Harry Richman. In his conference notes, Zanuck states, "We are going to poke a little fun at Menjou in the light of Harry Richman and his Transatlantic trip-ping pong balls, et al....Menjou can use the line: 'In case we had come down in the water they would keep us afloat,' which is bound to be good for a laugh." Also, in these notes, Zanuck instructed his writers on the tone of the film, comparing it to other recent Twentieth Century-Fox musicals produced for Sonja Henie and others: "...you are to write it more low-down, so to speak, than Thin Ice. Avoid farce and make it real, solid comedy-drama on the order of One in a Million and You Can't Have Everything [see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 for entries F3.4571, 3260, 5237 and 1835]." Also, according to the Produced Scripts Collection, there originally was to be a scene set at the Paris Exposition; the Frankfort set built for Heidi (see below) was to be used for the Norwegian village; and the Florida scenes originally were written to take place in Hollywood.
       According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, ski-jumping scenes were to be filmed in Truckee, CA. Publicity for the film noted that some scenes included a chorus of eighty-four skaters. Variety and the studio trade advertising billing sheet included the Peters Sisters as performing a specialty number, but they are not listed in the screen credits, and their inclusion in the final film has not been confirmed. Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room," lists Ted Harper as a specialty act, but his participation in the final film also has not been confirmed. According to a modern source, Henie requested Tyrone Power as her co-star, but Zanuck refused, and Belle Christy was in the chorus.