Cry for Happy

Cry for Happy is a 1961 American comedy film shot in Eastmancolor and CinemaScope, directed by George Marshall, and released by Columbia Pictures.

Cry for Happy
1961 Theatrical Poster
Directed byGeorge Marshall
Produced byWilliam Goetz
Written byIrving Brecher
Based onCry for Happy
1958 novel
by George Campbell[1]
StarringGlenn Ford
Donald O'Connor
Miiko Taka
James Shigeta
Miyoshi Umeki
Music byGeorge Duning
CinematographyBurnett Guffey
Edited byChester W. Schaeffer
William Goetz Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • February 10, 1961 (1961-02-10) (Honolulu)[2]
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited States


During the Korean War, Andy Cyphers (Glenn Ford), a Navy photographer and his three-man team occupy a Tokyo geisha house, though it is off-limits and four girls are living there.

At first, the men misunderstand the geishas' occupation. Later, romance develops. Complications ensue when a tongue-in-cheek remark made to the press by Cyphers saying he was fighting in the Korean War to help Japanese orphans gets publicity in the United States, and the Navy starts to look into the situation. The sailors and the geishas decide to quickly convert the geisha house into a temporary orphanage with local children agreeing to pose as orphans in exchange for ice cream. Surprisingly, the ruse is successful and thousands of Americans donate money, leading to Cyphers establishing a legitimate orphanage. A double wedding is held between two of the sailors and two of the geishas, while the other two men consider following suit.



Reviews from critics were mixed to negative; one commonly noted aspect of the film was the bawdiness of the humor which pushed the limits of what was permitted on the screen at the time. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote that "a great deal of nonsense" took place in the film—"nonsense of the sort that betokens a desperate scriptwriter at work ... Don't be surprised, indeed, at anything that happens in this knockabout film, derived from a novel by George Campbell, which must have been better, at least. And don't be disappointed, since you have been solemnly warned."[3] Variety called the film a "disappointment," with humor that was "uneven and largely low, exaggerated or obvious, and the stars have little to sink their thespic teeth into."[4] Harrison's Reports rated the film, "Good," with "some of the raciest lines we've heard yet in the new 'adult' wave of American films. This approach to burlesque comedy is going to bring new cries from censors and those demanding that pictures here be classified."[5] Roger Angell of The New Yorker called the film an "irritating work, which made me want to cry, all right, but not for happy."[6] Charles Stinson of the Los Angeles Times called the film "a moderately amusing effort — even if you've seen all its gags three dozen times before, which you certainly have." Stinson added that the one thing which distinguished Cry for Happy from the many other service comedies was Irving Brecher's dialogue, which was "professionally trim and bright but he could not resist lacing it with some of the stiffest shots of double-entendre heard on screen in a long time. Half a dozen lines are more than risque and at least one is far too raw even for a service comedy. This is enough to mark this film off the family list."[7] The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "Any film which expends most of its energies on a protracted joke about how far you can go with a geisha could hardly fail to be as charmless and witless as this."[8]

See also


  1. "Cry for Happy - Credits". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  2. "Cry for Happy - Details". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  3. Crowther, Bosley (March 4, 1961). "Comedy Set in Japan Opens at 2 Theatres". The New York Times: 16.
  4. "Cry for Happy". Variety: 6. January 11, 1961.
  5. "'Cry for Happy' with Glenn Ford, Donald O'Connor, Miiko Taka, James Shigeta and Miyoshi Umeki". Harrison's Reports: 6. January 14, 1961.
  6. Angell, Roger (March 11, 1961). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker: 166.
  7. Stinson, Charles (March 10, 1961). "Geishas, Gobs, Kids Mixed Up in Comedy". Los Angeles Times: B8.
  8. "Cry for Happy". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 28 (329): 80. June 1961.
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