Sunday, June 26, 2011

You Gotta Stay Happy (1948)

“You gotta stay happy, don’t look for trouble.”

            You Gotta Stay Happy is adorable. It is a film where there is that mistaken identity thing going on for a while but everything else surrounding that bit of plot is so funny and amusing. The film is much in the vein of Screwball comedies from the 1930s.
            Joan Fontaine is an heiress named Diana Dillwood. She has been engaged six times but she just cannot make up her mind. Diana is practically forced into marrying a new fiancée by her guardian and her psychiatrist. She goes through with the wedding but she is not looking forward to the honeymoon and especially the wedding night.
            After Diana and now her husband Henry are married they stay at a hotel before they are to leave for their honeymoon. Diana is a ball of nerves and apprehension. She really has no feelings for Henry whatsoever. That night they have a fight and she flees the room and runs into the room next door. Staying in the room is Marvin Payne (James Stewart) a commercial pilot. He previously saw Diana and Henry quarreling in the hallway and tried to be chivalrous and stick up for Diana but Henry just knocked him out.
            Marvin agrees to let Diana stay in his room for the night and he will try to sneak her out in the morning. All the poor guy wants is to get some sleep. He has just flown from California to New York and then has to fly back again in the morning. Diana interrupts him and so do his friend/co-pilot Bullet and the hotel manager with whom he is friendly with. Diana is a bunch of nerves she cannot sleep. She takes three of the sleeping pills that Marvin had on him but she says they are not working. He calls the desk for some more and the pills are really powerful. Unfortunately he forgets to tell her about the pills and she passes out cold!!
            The only way Marvin and Bullet get her out and about is by giving her some strong coffee but that barely works. The two pilots get her out of the hotel by dressing her in a bomber jacket, pants, and a baseball cap. Diana wakes up just when the cab pulls up to the airport. She gets all excited she has an opportunity to get away. Marvin does not really want her to come at first but finally gives in. Bullet takes some people along and Marvin is none too happy but they are paying for their way (they fly a cargo plane not a passenger plane). One of the extra passengers is a man who has just embezzled money from his company along with a blonde woman.
            The plane ride does not go as smoothly as it should. Marvin thinks Diana (or Dottie Blucher as she told him her name was) is the woman along with the embezzler after a detective in Chicago was asking about the guy and a blonde woman. Diana just told him that she was running away from something but not exactly what so his mind is running with the idea that she has stolen money.
            But of course Fontaine and Stewart wind up together at the end. During the film a young bride tells Diana that she fell in love with her husband after just one kiss. Diana says she never felt that and she had kissed many men before. She gets an idea and runs after Marvin. The two kiss and they both enjoyed it.
            I have got to just gush about Joan Fontaine in this film. She was fabulous (and can I just add that I loved her speaking voice for some reason? I was just hanging on to every word she said. I know I’m weird). Fontaine to me is becoming less and less the neurotic emotional messes from Rebecca and Suspicion and more of a well rounded truly talented actress with some wit. The scenes when Diana is passed out cold and the next morning when Marvin tries to wake her up are hilarious she was perfect. She was so cute in one scene when she is walking off the plane. She is shot from behind as if it is Marvin’s point of view of her walking away. Fontaine looks adorable walking away in big clunky boots and baggy pants and jacket and a baseball cap. The scene is just really cute you would have to see it. I am not a really big James Stewart fan, he does not bother me he was a very good actor but there is just something about him, I cannot really say what, that turns me off from him. I liked him and Fontaine together they were an odd pairing but they worked really well together.
            You Gotta Stay Happy is a very cute film from beginning to end. James Stewart and Joan Fontaine as well as the supporting cast add very charm to the film. Not once did I feel the plot of mistaken identity or some of the more outrageous moments with some of the passengers was over done or too silly. I honestly cannot wait to sit through You Gotta Stay Happy again.
            This is definitely a film I suggest seeing. I believe as of right now YouTube has the whole film available to view in parts.

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