Happy Land

The Happy Land

Director: Irving Pichel

Cast: Don Ameche, Frances Dee, Harry Carey

     
 
An Iowa drugstore owner (Don Ameche) becomes embittered when his son is killed in World War II. The druggist believes that the boy's life was cut short before he had an opportunity to truly appreciate his existence. The grieving father is shown the error of his assumption by the ghost of his grandfather (Harry Carey), who through flashbacks details the good things

Overview

An Iowa drugstore owner (Don Ameche) becomes embittered when his son is killed in World War II. The druggist believes that the boy's life was cut short before he had an opportunity to truly appreciate his existence. The grieving father is shown the error of his assumption by the ghost of his grandfather (Harry Carey), who through flashbacks details the good things about the son's short term on Earth, and the wonderful life that the druggist himself has enjoyed. Frances Dee plays Don Ameche's wife, while Ann Rutherford portrays his son's girl (who in turn is played in a flashback sequence by former Little Rascal Darla Hood). Happy Land was suitable wartime propaganda, though it doesn't play quite as movingly today.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The Happy Land undoubtedly packed a bigger punch during its initial World War II release, but there's enough drama in the picture to make it worthwhile viewing for many modern audiences, especially those with a fondness for nostalgia or for the value of life's simpler rewards. Indeed, Happy is a precursor in both form and theme to It's a Wonderful Life, although it lacks that classic's rare sense of beauty and total commitment to its subject matter. Indeed, one of the problems with Happy is that it ever so slightly feels as if the creators are somewhat more committed to the propaganda purposes of the film than to its actual message. That said, there are still plenty of moving sequences that will tug at heartstrings or bring the expected warm glow to the heart. Happy also benefits from a very strong opening and closing, bookends that frame the main story's flashback segment and make quite an impression. In the lead role, Don Ameche is good if not exceptional; there's a little too much "actor-iness" to his work. Harry Carey is warm, Frances Dee is lovely and Richard Crane is fine if a bit overdone.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/20/2012
UPC:
0024543852605
Original Release:
1943
Rating:
NR
Source:
Fox Mod
Presentation:
[B&W, Full Frame]
Time:
1:15:00
Sales rank:
46,453

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Don Ameche Lew Marsh
Frances Dee Agnes Marsh
Harry Carey Gramp
Ann Rutherford Lenore Prentiss
Richard Crane Rusty
Cara Williams Gretchen Barry
Henry Morgan Tony Cavrek
Minor Watson Judge Colvin
Dickie Moore Peter Orcutt
Oscar O'Shea Father Case
Adeline Reynolds Mrs. Schneider
Roseanne Murray Velma
James West Rusty, Age 12-16
Larry Olsen Rusty, Age 5
Bernard B. Thomas Sam Kendall
Eddie Mills Bud
Mary Wickes Emmy
Walter S. Baldwin Jake Hibbs
Tom Stevenson Mr. MacMurray
Aileen Pringle Mrs. Prentiss
Matt Moore Mr. Prentiss
Darla Hood Lenore Prentiss, Age 12
Richard Abbott Rev. Wood
Lillian Bronson Mattie Dyer
Ferris Taylor Mayor
Larry Thompson Andy
Paul Weigel Pop Schmidt
Elvin Field Joe
Juanita Quigley Sally Pierce
Milt Kibbee Shep Wayne
John Dilson Charles Clayton
Leigh Whipper Old Ben
Robert Dudley Old Man Bowers
Joe Bernard Clerk
Houseley Stevenson Sam Watson
Natalie Wood Bit Part

Technical Credits
Irving Pichel Director
James Basevi Art Director
Julien Josephson Screenwriter
Joseph La Shelle Cinematographer
Kenneth MacGowan Producer
Cyril Mockridge Score Composer
Emil Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Kathryn Scola Screenwriter
Fred Sersen Special Effects
Russell J. Spencer Art Director
Dorothy Spencer Editor

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