Navy Jeep in the Movies

Cry for Happy (1961)


Poster Cry for Happy is a 1961 comedy starring Glenn Ford and Donald O'Connor. Set in Japan and largely filmed there, it was directed by George Marshall, who established a reputation for comedy back in the 1930s, directing Laurel and Hardy in three classic films. Later in his career he did films with both Bob Hope and Jerry Lewis. However he is now probably best remembered for the epic How the West Was Won, made the year after Cry for Happy.

The story takes place during the Korean War. A Navy photographer and his three-man team occupy a Tokyo geisha house, despite the fact that it's off-limits, and that four girls are living there. At first, the men misunderstand the geishas' occupation. Later, romance develops.

Jeff Lind dropped me a line to say he spotted a Jeep in the film.

Frame The Navy CJ-3B appears just a few minutes into the film. I thought this seemed promising, but it turns out that we only see the Jeep for a few shots, and it doesn't appear again.

Frame Reviews for Cry for Happy were not great. Charles Stinson of the Los Angeles Times called it "a moderately amusing effort — even if you've seen all its gags three dozen times before, which you certainly have."

Roger Angell of The New Yorker called the film an "irritating work, which made me want to cry, all right, but not for happy."

Frame The CJ-3B we see driving through the Tokyo streets could perhaps be an actual Navy Jeep. There are some faded hood markings we can't really read. And the Navy did buy some 3Bs as early as 1953.

These driving shots were likely done separately from the rest of the film by a second unit camera crew, because...

Frame ...just a few seconds later, when the sailor has arrived at the "Combat Camera Unit" office, the Jeep has suddenly turned into a CJ-2A!

Again, the Navy did reportedly use 2As as early as 1946, but this one has no markings on the front bumper so the chances are good that it's just a prop car.

And that's the end of the Jeep scene.

You can probably skip the rest of Cry for Happy, but it's on YouTube if you want to see it. Thanks to Jeff Lind for giving me the heads up. -- Derek Redmond

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Last updated 3 January 2024 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond