Blake is in love with an aristocratic woman whose husband seriously injures him. Blake's friendship with Lord Nelson provides the basis for Blake's part in the growth of Lloyd's insurance ... See full summary »
Tyrone Power is a pilots' pilot, but he doesn't believe in anything beyond his own abilities. He gets into trouble by flying a new fighter directly to Canada instead of to New York and ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
'Rose of Washington Square' is notable for being the third, and last, film with Tyrone Power and Alice Faye starring together. The previous two being 'In Old Chicago' and 'Alexander's Ragtime Band'.
Comparing the three, 'Rose of Washington Square' is better than 'In Old Chicago', which had a number of impressive elements but generally left me lukewarm, but is not as good as 'Alexander's Ragtime Band', which is not perfect but a must watch for particularly Irving Berlin's glorious songs.
Oddly enough, 'Rose of Washington Square' is just as notable for being a loose and thinly disguised biopic of Fanny Brice and for being a vehicle for Faye and Al Jolson. Generally, while it is never going to be one of my favourites, it's good fun.
The story is very flimsy, and sometimes with Jolson's involvement it does disconcertingly at times feel like two different films. The characterisations are often undercooked, Power's character in particular is so severely underwritten that it was amazing that he was even able to get anything out of it. Power does have a roguish charm and has good chemistry with Faye, but due to his character and how he's written he's also a little bland compared to everything else. The direction by Gregory Ratoff does sometimes lack the necessary zip and is a bit too staid in places.
However, 'Rose of Washington Square' is an attractive-looking film, with lavish set and costume design and beautifully shot in black and white. The music is similarly terrific, Faye and Jolson getting the lion's share. Faye sings beautifully and with heartfelt emotion and enthusiasm in her numbers, of which "My Man" is the most memorable, but Jolson's songs (some of which are among his biggest hits) make even more impact.
The script is sweet and humorous, and there is a great vaudeville atmosphere throughout and scenes do have a nice energy especially Jolson's. Although there are reservations about Power, the rest of the cast do very well. Faye is luminous and sings a dream, singing every song like she knows what she's singing about and means it. Jolson is electrifying, with the film coming to life in his musical numbers. Entertaining support from William Frawley and Hobart Cavanaugh, Ben Weldan and Louis Prima are also fun to spot.
In summary, good fun if not great. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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