A memo to the exchange managers and exhibitors (and sniped to 20th Century Fox's press book) reads: "CORRECTION! Please eliminate the following credits on 'Hello, Frisco, Hello': George Barbier... from the cast. Hermes Pan... as co-stager of the dance sequences." See more »
Alice Faye's reign at 20th Century Fox, which overlapped with Betty Grable's, started earlier than Grable's and ended sooner - and on a sour note. Faye actually came with the old Fox Film Corp. when Zanuck founded 20th Century Fox and was at first a Harlow type, eventually developing into the Alice Faye moviegoers came to love. When she was given a dramatic role, in the 1945 "Dark Angel," the film was re-edited to favor Linda Darnell, and a disgusted Faye left Fox and never returned.
Here she's on top in "Hello Frisco, Hello" also starring John Payne, Lynn Bari, Jack Oakie, June Havoc and Laird Cregar, a big, colorful turn of the century musical in the Fox tradition. Alice plays Trudy Evans, the linchpin in a group formed by the ambitious Johnny Cornell. Johnny isn't content with the Barbary Coast - he wants Nob Hill. After opening a series of clubs, he becomes interested in a beautiful widow (Bari) who can give him the respectability he wants. When she goes broke, he tries to buy her house. To the heartbreak of Trudy, who's been in love with him all along, the two eventually marry.
There's one song after another in this musical, including Faye's beautiful rendition of "You'll Never Know," which became a smash hit. Faye's voice was so unusual - low, sultry and smooth, and it fits the music here perfectly. She is beautifully photographed and costumed as well. Oakie and Havoc provide comic support, and Bari is excellent as the woman who wins Johnny away from Trudy.
The big problem with the film is the character of Johnny (Payne), who is a real louse and a user to boot as he strings Trudy along. Personally, I would have let him stew in his own juice but this is Hollywood after all. And the plot is so secondary to the wonderful music and stars. Highly entertaining.
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