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Rose of Washington Square (1939)

 -  Drama | Musical  -  5 May 1939 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 318 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 4 critic

A singer becomes a star in the Ziegfeld Follies, but her marriage to a con man has a bad effect on her career.

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(screenplay), (based on a story by), 1 more credit »
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Title: Rose of Washington Square (1939)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Rose Sargent
...
Ted Cotter
...
Harry Long
...
Peggy
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Whitey Boone
Moroni Olsen ...
Mayor Buck Russell
E.E. Clive ...
Barouche Driver
...
Band Leader
Charles C. Wilson ...
Police Lt. Mike Cavanaugh
Hal K. Dawson ...
Chump
Paul E. Burns ...
Chump (as Paul Burns)
Ben Welden ...
Toby
Horace McMahon ...
Irving (as Horace MacMahon)
Paul Stanton ...
District Attorney
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Storyline

New York city in the 1920s: a singer struggles to keep her boyfriend from trouble. When she makes it to Ziegfeld, he heads for five years in jail. Lots of Faye and Jolson singing. The story is so close to the true story of Fanny Brice and Nicky Arnstein (Jules W. Arndt Stein) that he sued the studio in a case that was quickly settled out of court in his favor. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Approved
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 May 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rose de Broadway  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film closely resembles the life of entertainer Fanny Brice, and Alice Faye even sings Brice's signature song, "My Man" in the film. According to Biography: Alice Faye: The Star Next Door (1996), Brice sued 20th Century Fox for $750,000. The studio benefited from the publicity generated by the lawsuit - the film became the highest grossing musical of 1939 - and eventually settled out of court with Brice for an undisclosed amount. It has also been alleged that Power's character resembles Nicky Arnstein. See more »

Connections

Featured in Take It or Leave It (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

California, Here I Come
(uncredited)
Written by Joseph Meyer, Buddy G. DeSylva and Al Jolson
Performed by Al Jolson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Alice Just Shines
9 October 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

In this early version of the Funny Girl story, Alice Faye as Rose Sargent simply shines in her performance. Alice's warm contralto voice was one of the easiest to take of any musical star from the Thirties. She's helped her by a collection of post World War I standards and a new song written by the 20th Century Fox songwriting team of Mack Gordon and Harry Revel, I Never Knew Heaven Could Speak.

Other than the names were changed to make them ethnically neutral, Alice, as Fanny Brice, sings a lot of ballads in her own style. Fanny Brice as a performer was nothing if not ethnic. Other than her famous standard My Man, in which Faye reprises her well, Brice's repertoire consisted of comedy numbers mostly with an accent to identify her Lower East Side of New York Jewish origins.

Still Alice in her goyish version of Fanny was real enough so that Fanny sued 20th Century Fox to stop the film. She and Darryl Zanuck reached an out of court settlement.

Tyrone Power is Hobart DeWitt Clinton(Nicky Arnstein), a name certainly waspy enough to disguise any ethnicity. It's Ty's third and final film with Alice Faye. Whether played by Power or Omar Sharif, the husband's role is a tricky one. He's a charming con man and you can't make him to weak or the audience will never understand why Faye is even bothering with him. Of course if you have the looks of Tyrone Power, it's easy. But you do have to have the talent to match which Power does. In the storyline at the beginning, Power is identified as having served in the American Expeditionary Force in France in World War I. Deliberately put there to make the audience empathetic with him. After all in 1939 there were certainly a lot of moviegoers who were veterans or in the families of World War I veterans.

Al Jolson was here and shares the spotlight with Faye in singing some of his old standards from that period. He was very good in his part as Faye's confidante and fellow performer. But Jolson with his ego did not like sharing the spotlight with anyone. His three 20th Century Fox roles were supporting or guest star roles and he hated it. Equally I might add that Alice Faye couldn't stand him.

Irony of ironies, back in the day Jolson himself got into a famous feud with Walter Winchell who was the creative genius behind Broadway Through a Keyhole. That film was a disguised version of his own courtship and marriage to Ruby Keeler and Jolson was the one doing the suing then.

Alice Faye is not Fanny Brice in the film, but I'm happy with her just being Alice Faye.


17 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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