The Marx Brothers' final starring feature Love Happy began life as a solo vehicle for Harpo. The financiers wouldn't go for this, insisting that all three Marx boys appear on screen. Thus, Chico was hastily written into the proceedings, while Groucho made what amounted to a guest appearance as narrator and last-minute problem solver. The story concerns a group of aspiring actors who are putting together a musical review called "Love Happy." Harpo, the troupe's mascot, keeps the actors from starving by cleverly filching canned goods from a local grocer. On one such excursion, he accidentally gets hold of a sardine can containing a fortune in stolen diamonds. This makes Harpo the target of icy adventuress Madame Egilichi (Ilona Massey) and her henchmen (Melville Cooper, Raymond Burr, Bruce Gordon). When he isn't fending off the villains, Harpo is making life a little brighter for "Love Happy"'s leading lady Maggie (Vera-Ellen). Chico shows up sporadically as Faustino the Great, an itinerant musician, while Groucho plays private eye Sam Grunion, who does the best he can with some pretty weak dialogue. Groucho's best scene is his one-minute confrontation with a gorgeous blonde client, played by a decidedly pre-stardom Marilyn Monroe. Most of the comedy routines in Love Happy are either underwritten or underdeveloped, save for the spectacular finale, wherein Harpo evades the villains by climbing over, under and around neon advertisement signs for such products as Fisk Tires, Mobilgas and Kool Cigarettes. The fact that Ben Hecht wrote the original story upon which Love Happy was based caused the film to be banned in Great Britain, due to Hecht's improvident comments about the British occupation of Palestine. Though dyed-in-the-wool Marx Brothers fans tend to dislike Love Happy, the film manages to deliver quite a few solid laughs when seen today.
by Hal Erickson synopsis