AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Happy Landing
Alternate Title: Hot and Happy
Director: Roy Del Ruth (Dir)
Release Date:   28 Jan 1938
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 21 Jan 1938
Production Date:   18 Oct--mid-Dec 1937
Duration (in mins):   102
Duration (in feet):   9,200
Duration (in reels):   12
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Cast:   Sonja Henie (Trudy Ericksen)  
    Don Ameche (Jimmy Hall)  
    Jean Hersholt (Herr [Lars] Ericksen)  
    Ethel Merman (Flo Kelly)  
    Cesar Romero (Duke Sargent)  
    Billy Gilbert (Counter man)  
    Raymond Scott Quintet (Themselves)  
    Wally Vernon (Al Mahoney)  
    Leah Ray (Specialty)  
    Condos Brothers (Specialty)  
    El Brendel (Yonnie)  
    Marcelle Corday (Gypsy)  
    Joseph Crehan (Agent )  
    Eddie Conrad (Waiter)  
    Ben Weldon (Manager skating rink)  
    Alex Novinsky (Count)  
    Harvey Parry (Tough heckler)  
    Matt McHugh (Tough heckler)  
    Otto Malde (Husband)  
    Joe Hartman (Husband)  
    Herbert H. Brodkin (Husband)  
    Gene Mako (Husband)  
    Annabelle Brudie (Wife)  
    Marianne Brudie (Wife)  
    Gloria Brewster (Wife)  
    Barbara Brewster (Wife)  
    Louis Adlon (Olaf)  
    Alex Schonberg (Crony)  
    Victor Delinsky (Crony)  
    Alex Palasthy (Crony)  
    Bernard Siegel (Crony)  
    Ralph Fitzsimmons (Crony)  
    Paul Panzer (Crony)  
    Hans Joby (Crony)  
    Hans Tanzler (Crony)  
    Bert Sprotte (Crony)  
    William B. Davidson (Manager)  
    Marcel de Labrosse (Rajah)  
    Norman Willis (Guard)  
    Herbert Ashley (Guard)  
    William Wagner (Justice of Peace)  
    George Offerman Jr. (Western Union messenger)  
    Eugene Borden (Waiter)  
    John Hiestand (Announcer)  
    Fredrik Vogeding (Villager)  
    Adolph Milar (Constable)  
    Syd Saylor (Tuba player)  
    Billy Wayne (Mechanic)  
    Ben Hendricks (Mechanic)  
    Art Dupuis (Mechanic)  
    Charles Tannen (Reporter)  
    Robert Lowery (Reporter)  
    Lon Chaney Jr. (Reporter)  
    Arthur Rankin (Reporter)  
    Harold Goodwin (Reporter)  
    Fred Kelsey (Turnkey)  
    June Storey (Stewardess)  

Summary: 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. 

Production Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Production Text: Darryl F. Zanuck, in charge of production
Distribution Company: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Roy Del Ruth (Dir)
  Booth McCracken (Asst dir)
Producer: David Hempstead (Assoc prod)
Writer: Milton Sperling (Orig scr)
  Boris Ingster (Orig scr)
Photography: John Mescall (Photog)
Art Direction: Bernard Herzbrun (Art dir)
  Mark-Lee Kirk (Art dir)
Film Editor: Louis Loeffler (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Thomas Little (Set dec)
Costumes: Royer (Cost)
Music: Louis Silvers (Mus dir)
  Jule Styne (Vocal supv)
Sound: Eugene Grossman (Sd)
  Roger Heman (Sd)
Dance: Harry Losee (Dances staged by)
Production Misc: L. O. James (Elec)
  Harry Brand (Publicity)
Country: United States

Music: "War Dance of the Wooden Indians" by Raymond Scott.
Songs: "Hot and Happy," "A Gypsy Told Me," "You Are the Music to the Words in My Heart" and "Yonny and His Oompah," music and lyrics by Sam Pokrass and Jack Yellen; "You Appeal to Me," music and lyrics by Walter Bullock and Harold Spina.
Composer: Raymond Scott
  Walter Bullock
  Samuel Pokrass
  Harold Spina
  Jack Yellen

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. 28/1/1938 dd/mm/yyyy LP7867

PCA NO: 3827
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA High Fidelity Recording

Genre: Musical comedy
Subjects (Major): Band leaders
  Ice skaters and ice skating
  Theatrical managers
Subjects (Minor): Airplanes
  Detroit (MI)
  False arrests
  Fathers and daughters
  Miami (FL)
  New York City
  New York City--Central Park
  Paris (France)
  Ping-pong (Game)
  Proposals (Marital)
  Village life

Note: 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 MPH 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: " 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 HR 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. Var 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. MPH '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. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   29 Jan 1938.   
Daily Variety   22 Jan 38   p. 3.
Film Daily   22 Jan 38   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Oct 37   p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Nov 37   p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Dec 37   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Dec 37   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Dec 37   sect. II, p. 90.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jan 38   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   19 Jan 38   p. 8.
Motion Picture Herald   27 Nov 37   p. 51.
Motion Picture Herald   29 Jan 38   p. 53, 56
New York Times   22 Jan 38   p. 19.
Variety   17 Oct 1937.   
Variety   26 Jan 38   p. 14.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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