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  • Happiness Ahead [DVD] [1934] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Happiness Ahead [DVD] [1934] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Price: £9.87
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Region 1 encoding. (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A light Depression era musical comedy 28 Jun. 2009
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: DVD
I am reviewing the product here, not the wisdom of paying the price posted for a used copy. This film is a Warner Archive product made on demand on DVD-R consisting of the finest material Warner Brothers currently has in its vault, but with no restoration done especially for this release. There are no scene selections - you can only go forwards and backwards in ten minute intervals. There are no extras other than a trailer. You can buy this product directly from Warner Brothers for just under twenty dollars, or you can buy it in a bundle with four other Keeler/Powell films for a greatly reduced price. The case in which this and all Warner Archive products are shipped is quite sturdy. The artwork is nothing to write home about, but neither is it amateurish looking. Now for the details of the film itself.

This is one of those films so popular in the 1930's in which a rich person, either intentionally or through coincidence, is mistaken for a person of modest means. As a result of this, the rich person ends up falling in love with a person of actual modest means.

In this case Joan Bradford (Josephine Hutchinson) is a wealthy heiress who is expected to marry a wealthy heir in a manner that resembles a corporate merger more than a romance. On the night that the engagement is to be announced she escapes her parents' mansion and begins walking along the streets of New York City. She goes into a night spot where she meets a group of young people, one of whom is window washing dispatcher Bob Lane (Dic k Powell). Bob offers Joan a ride home at the evening's end, and she accepts. She doesn't want Bob to know she is wealthy, so she picks a random boarding house and tells him to drop her off.

Now the problems of the deception begin. Joan has given Bob a fake name - Joan Smith - and is expecting to pick her up for a date in a few days at an address where she does not live. She rents a place there and furnishes it, only showing up on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays right before her dates with Bob, and going back to her real home after he drops her off. She manages to fend off her mother's questions with the help of her sympathetic father (Jack Halliday). However, Joan soon finds she is in love with Bob, and with him talking about the two of them having a future together, she must face how to let him know who she really is without him feel betrayed.

This film is a bit of a departure for Dic k Powell's musical films. He is not playing someone with musical abilities who is itching to be discovered. There are no big musical numbers in the film, just Powell singing a few catchy songs. This is a very fun film if you like the Warner Brothers musical comedies from the 1930's.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very lightweight musical outing 1 April 2011
By J. Olsen - Published on
Format: DVD
This was my first exposure to Josephine Hutchinson, and though she was not unpleasant to watch, I do agree with another reviewer who felt that she was not the right actress for this part. The basic plot is used a few years later in Powell's screwball comedy with Olivia de Havilland, "Hard to Get"--wealthy heiress attracts attention of working class man who thinks he has found a working class woman. However, this movie lacks the humor of the Powell/de Havilland attempt on the theme (though Frank McHugh tries his best as Powell's friend to inject some laughs).

New Years Eve finds Joan Bradford (Hutchinson) boycotting her mother's party of boring socialites to mingle with the masses on the streets. A chance (and close) encounter with Bob Lane (Powell) leads her to fake an identity as Joan Smith, a working class girl who is currently out of work. She rents an apartment in the building where she had Bob drop her off, so that he can pick her up there for their date two days later. She continues to use the place to keep up the charade--even hosting gatherings for Bob and his friends. She falls hard for Bob, and he for her, but complications arise when he misunderstands an attempt Joan makes to help him go into business for himself. Her father is worried when he sees that this has sent her back to the vapid young man that her mother wants her to marry. Daddy decides to intervene so there will be "Happiness Ahead."

Pleasant watching, but nothing very memorable. I enjoyed it and will probably watch it again someday, though I would recommend "Hard to Get" for those who like the theme, but would enjoy much more humor and spunk in the performance.

It is presented in full screen and as a Warner Brother's Archive release, it has no extras (unless you count the movie trailer) and the print has not been cleaned up, which is quite evident in some places. Don't forget that these DVD-R products don't play on Player/Recorders. You must have a "Play Only" unit to view the movie.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Weak musical romance, poor print 4 Jan. 2010
By Douglas M - Published on
Format: DVD
Warners Archive Collection are expensive no frills DVDs with unrestored prints and no extras except maybe a theatrical trailer. "Happiness Ahead" is a case in point. Released by Warners in 1934 after the implementation of the Hays Code, the film is a pleasant "nothing" musical romance which introduced actress Josephine Hutchinson. The theatrical trailer attached to the DVD makes a lot of Hutchinson's debut. Hutchinson was a softly spoken classic actress suited to dramatic roles, "Oil for the Lamps of China" or "Mountain Justice", for example, but neither good looking nor bouncy enough to make much of an impression in such a role as she has here. She is charming but has no star quality.

This is the sort of film which MGM usually produced and it lacks the usual Warner's vitality. Slumming aristocrats were popular at this time ("It Happened One Night", "My Man Godfrey" etc) but these were screwball comedies and "Happiness Ahead" is neither screwball nor particularly comic. While Hutchinson is an obvious aristocrat, she is paired with ebullient Dick Powell and they are a mismatched couple. The film has a few pleasant songs but it is indicative of the melee that the title song is sung by Powell directly to the camera before the credits at the beginning and never heard again. The supporting cast, stalwarts such as Frank McHugh and Ruth Donnelly, are wasted. The best performance is given by John Halliday as Hutchinson's father. He steals the film.

Just to add to the mediocrity, the print is poor and the cover art is misleading because that is Alice Faye with Dick Powell from the 1937 "On the Avenue" on the case.
"Parachute for Mr. Travis... Parachute for Mr. Travis." 21 Oct. 2012
By H. Bala - Published on
Format: DVD
Mervyn Leroy's directed his own share of prestigious cinema, and HAPPINESS AHEAD, which he helmed in 1934, isn't one of those. But Dick Powell, who back in the 1930s owned a hefty share of the boyish crooner market, stars in it, and so what if Warner Brothers deigned not to inject those patented extravagant musical numbers? Powell puts his stamp on a catchy ditty or two, my favorite being "Pop Goes Your Heart." And lest anyone doubt that Powell is the featured headliner, he sings the title track before the opening credits.

Oboy, It Happened One Night has much to answer for. It certainly inspired a wave of pictures that hang their hats on that theme of "wealthy heiress falls for working class gent," a sort of romantic spin on class warfare. Accordingly, HAPPINESS AHEAD introduces us to discontented society girl Joan Bradford (Josephine Hutchinson) who refuses an engagement to a wealthy dullard. It is New Year's Eve and Joan ducks out on her parents' boring soiree and ventures out into the bustle of New York City, but not without her understanding dad's blessing. We note her eyebrow-raising remark to him - "I'm 21, I'm white, and I've a right to be free." - and chalk it up as a sign of the times.

There's Joan Bradford, gleefully wandering the raucous streets, rubbing elbows with the reveling common folks. She lands a table at a packed oriental revue and, as the midnight hour tolls and the lights are extinguished, she's mistakenly kissed by a stranger who then apologizes. Bob Lane figured he was locking lips with a friend. And there's your requisite cute first meet. Moments later, Bob Lane is winning Anne over with his rendition of "Pop Goes Your Heart." He serenades her with lyrics like "Quite unexpectedly a lovely face you see, and pop goes your heart." Anne didn't have a chance.

She's so taken with Bob that she masquerades as the impoverished and currently unemployed "Joan Smith." To maintain her deception, she rents a modest apartment in which she can rendezvous with Bob, and never mind that she's only there three days of the week and never sleeps there. Bob is a straight shooter, a blue-collar sort, a dispatcher at a window cleaning firm, who dreams of someday running his own window cleaning business. He thinks that Anne is as regular folks as he. So what happens when he glimpses her slipping into a fancy car, a chauffer driving her away? Get ready for a shock now: this film presents a series of spats and misunderstandings.

So, a few years later Powell would star in a similar but superior picture, Hard to Get, with Olivia de Havilland taking on the part of a spoiled society girl. And maybe HARD TO GET is superior because de Havilland is the better actress or maybe it's because she plays her role as more screwball and, therefore, showy. Josephine Hutchinson makes her film debut here, and she's fine enough but a bit stilted in her line delivery. Frank McHugh brings energy as Powell's sidekick and even duets with Powell in "Massaging Window Panes" as they do just that while precariously strapped to the side of a skyscraper. For Depression era film goers, HAPPINESS AHEAD fit the bill. It strung them along with bits of mild levity and song and light romance. HAPPINESS AHEAD didn't need to be a classic, it just needed to entertain. And it does that. As Bob Lane frequently comments: "Well, that's taken care of."

3.5 out of 5 stars.
Josephine.......not Napolean! Quick ship,too! 31 Mar. 2015
By Bill M - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nothing spectacular, but whomever Josephine Hutchinson was,she was pretty good! Dick Powell played.......well,you can guess the rest!
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