THE HAPPY ROAD
(director: Gene Kelly; screenwriters: Arthur Julian/Joe Morhaim/Harry Kurnitz/story by Arthur Julian & Joe Morhaim; cinematographer: Robert Juillard; editor: Borys Lewin; music: Georges Van Parys; cast: Gene Kelly (Mike Andrews), Barbara Laage (Suzanne Duval), Bobby Clark (Danny Andrews), Brigitte Fossey (Janine Duval), Michael Redgrave (Gen. Medworth), Colette Dereal (Helene), Roger Treville (Dr. Solaise), Jess Hahn (Morgan); Runtime: 99; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Gene Kelly; MGM; 1957)
“Whimsical comedy that fails to maintain the charm it dishes out.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A made in France Gene Kelly(“Singin’ in the Rain”/”It’s Always Fair Weather”/”On The Town”) whimsical comedy that fails to maintain the charm it dishes out. Maurice Chevalier sings the title tune, but does not appear in the film. It’s based on a trivial story by Arthur Julian & Joe Morhaim, and is written by Arthur Julian, Joe Morhaim and Harry Kurnitz. The song-and-dance man plays it as strictly a straight role, with no dancing.
Two children run away from an elite Swiss boarding school. One student is Danny Andrews (Bobby Clark), whose widower father is the European living American businessman Mike Andrews (Gene Kelly). The kid runs away to prove to dad he can make it on his own. Bobby takes along with him a fellow student, Janine Duval (Brigitte Fossey). His dad and her divorcee mom, Suzanne (Barbara Laage), team up to find the kids. If you guess a love interest develops between the worried parents, you’re right; but don’t think of yourself as some kind of seer for figuring that one out.
In any case, the charming teens are on the back roads of France on their adventurous way to Paris. Michael Redgrave plays General Medworth, a NATO commander, who is asked to help find the kids using his military resources. He finds that the kids are outwitting him.
The cranky American dad is not too thrilled with how slow the French are in finding the kids. He also dislikes their tiny rental cars. But the film still manages to patronize the French by going on and on about their rich culture.
The modest production, released as a second feature on double bills, is only slightly amusing and easily forgettable.
REVIEWED ON 1/8/2015 GRADE: C+