AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Happy Go Lovely
Director: Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
Release Date:   8 Jul 1951
Premiere Information:   London opening: 7 Jun 1951
Production Date:   at Elstree Studios, Elstree, England
Duration (in mins):   87-88
Duration (in feet):   7,861
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Cast:   David Niven (B. G. Bruno)  
    Vera-Ellen (Janet Jones)  
    Cesar Romero (Jack Frost)  
    Bobby Howes (Charlie)  
    Diane Hart (Mae Thompson)  
    Gordon Jackson (Paul Tracy)  
    Barbara Couper (Mme. Amanda)  
    Henry Hewitt (Dodds)  
    Gladys Henson (Mrs. Urquhart)  
    Hugh Dempster (Bates)  
    Sandra Dorne (Betty Sommers)  
    Joyce Carey (Bruno's secretary)  
    John Laurie (Jonskill)  
    Wylie Watson (Stage door keeper)  
    Joan Heal (Phyllis Gardiner)  
    Hector Ross (Harold)  
    Kay Kendall (Frost's secretary)  
    Ambrosine Phillpotts (Lady Martin)  
    Molly Urquhart (Mme. Amanda's assistant, Miss Penfold)  
    David Lober (Principal dancer)  
    Jonathan Lucas (Principal dancer)  
    Jack Billings (Principal dancer)  
    Douglas Scott (Principal dancer) and His Debonair Boys
    Rolf Alexander (Principal dancer)  
    Ian Stuart (Principal dancer)  
    Leon Biedryski (Principal dancer)  

Summary: 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. 

Production Company: Associated British Picture Corp., Ltd.  
  N. P. Rathvon and Co.  
Production Text: A Marcel Hellman Production
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Bruce Humberstone (Dir)
  Desmond Davis (Dial dir)
Producer: Marcel Hellman (Prod)
Writer: Val Guest (Scr)
  F. Dammann (Based on a film story by)
  Dr. H. Rosenfeld (Based on a film story by)
Photography: Erwin Hillier (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: John Howell (Art dir)
Film Editor: Bert Bates (Ed)
Costumes: Anna Duse (Cost)
Music: Mischa Spoliansky (Mus)
  Louis Levy (Orch under the dir of)
Sound: Harold V. King (Rec dir)
  Cecil V. Thornton (Sd rec)
Dance: Pauline Grant (Ballet seq)
  Jack Billings (Dance seq)
Make Up: Nell Taylor (Makeup artist)
  Jean Bear (Hair styles)
Production Misc: Gerry Mitchell (Prod mgr)
Color Personnel: Joan Bridge (Technicolor col consultant)
Country: Great Britain and United States
Language: English

Songs: "MacIntosh's Wedding," music by Mischa Spoliansky, lyrics by Barbara Gordon; "One-Two-Three," music and lyrics by Mischa Spoliansky; "Would You--Could You?" music by Mischa Spoliansky, lyrics by Jack Fishman.
Composer: Jack Fishman
  Barbara Gordon
  Mischa Spoliansky

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Motion Picture Capital Corp. 24/7/1951 dd/mm/yyyy LP1200

PCA NO: 14659
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound System
  col: Technicolor

Genre: Musical
  Romantic comedy
Subjects (Major): Americans in foreign countries
  Edinburgh (Scotland)
  Financial crisis
  Impersonation and imposture
Subjects (Minor): Boardinghouses
  Mistaken identity
  Musical revues
  Theatrical producers

Note: 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 LAT reported in Dec 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 DV review, some location shooting took place in Edinburgh. The cost of production was approximately $840,000, according to the HCN 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. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   16 Jun 1951.   
Daily Variety   11 Jun 1951.   
Film Daily   14 Jun 1951.   
Hollywood Citizen-News   16 Oct 1951.   
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jun 50   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   11 Jun 1951.   
Los Angeles Examiner   3 Dec 1949.   
Los Angeles Times   8 Dec 1949.   
Motion Picture Herald   16 Jun 1951.   
New York Times   26 Jul 51   p. 17.
Variety   7 Mar 51   p. 18.

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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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