6.1/10
239
12 user 4 critic

The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956)

Ray Henderson joins Buddy De Sylva and Lew Brown to form a successful 1920s musical show writing team. They soon have several hits on Broadway but De Sylva's personal ambition leads to ... See full summary »

Director:

Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An unhappy wife uses her powers of manipulation to draw an infatuated man into an ill-fated jewelry heist.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Carol Ohmart, Tom Tryon, Jody Lawrance
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Torch singer Helen Morgan rises from sordid beginnings to fame and fortune only to lose it all to alcohol and poor personal choices.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Ann Blyth, Paul Newman, Richard Carlson
Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

John Hamilton leaves a comfortable New York job to take up as an artist in a quiet Connecticut town. His dipso wife hates the life and falsely makes him out to be selfish, unsuccessful, and... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Alan Ladd, Carolyn Jones, Diane Brewster
Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

You'll Find Yourself in a Whirlpool of Wine, Women and Wonderful Fun!

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Sophia Loren, Maurice Chevalier, John Gavin
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Francis Bernardone (Bradford Dillman) is the son of a wealthy cloth merchant in Assisi, who gives up all his worldly goods to dedicate himself to God. Clare (Dolores Hart) is a young ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Bradford Dillman, Dolores Hart, Stuart Whitman
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Louis XI of France drafts Paris's popular "king" of criminals as Provost Marshal in his fight against usurper Charles of Burgundy and the traitorous nobles who rally around him.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Kathryn Grayson, Oreste Kirkop, Rita Moreno
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A Confederate veteran living in the Yankee North struggles with his son's shock induced muteness and the hate of the Northerners.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Alan Ladd, Olivia de Havilland, Dean Jagger
Rawhide (1951)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A stagecoach stop employee and a stranded woman traveler find themselves at the mercy of four desperate outlaws intent on robbing the next day's gold shipment.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Tyrone Power, Susan Hayward, Hugh Marlowe
King Creole (1958)
Crime | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A rebellious young man takes a job as a nightclub singer to make ends meet, attracting the attention of a local crime boss.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Elvis Presley, Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau
The Hangman (1959)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

U.S. Marshal Bovard comes to a small border town to identify and arrest a fugitive but the whole town seems determined to prevent the marshal from doing his job.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Robert Taylor, Tina Louise, Fess Parker
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Jerry dreams to become a famous jazz singer. But in order to accomplish that, he must defy his father, a Jewish Cantor, who is opposed to such dream as a future for his son.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Danny Thomas, Peggy Lee, Eduard Franz
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Ambassador Joseph Davies is sent by FDR to Russia to learn about the Soviet system and returns to America as an advocate of Stalinism.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Walter Huston, Ann Harding, Oskar Homolka
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ray Henderson
...
Lew Brown
...
...
Carl Frisbee
...
Manny Costain
...
Maggie Henderson
...
Winfield Sheehan
Tony Galento ...
Fingers
Norman Brooks ...
Al Jolson
Jacques d'Amboise ...
...
Perky Nichols
...
Hollywood Star
Linda Brace ...
Jeannie Henderson
Patty Lou Hudson ...
Susie Henderson
Edit

Storyline

Ray Henderson joins Buddy De Sylva and Lew Brown to form a successful 1920s musical show writing team. They soon have several hits on Broadway but De Sylva's personal ambition leads to friction as the other two increasingly feel left out of things. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

John O'Hara's flaming portrait of the jazz age... and the guys and gals who made it Zing!

Genres:

Biography | Musical

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El encanto de vivir  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Links to IMDb files for the real-life people who were portrayed in the film using their real names: Lew Brown, Buddy G. DeSylva, Ray Henderson, Al Jolson, Winfield R. Sheehan. Sheehan, who died in 1945, was the head of production at Fox Films from 1926 to 1935. He was most notable for developing the early career of Shirley Temple, but was fired to make way for Darryl F. Zanuck after the merger that created Twentieth Century-Fox, the company that produced the film. See more »

Goofs

An establishing shot of Times Square in New York City, supposed to be taking place around 1930, clearly shows 1950s automobiles in the traffic. See more »

Connections

References Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) See more »

Soundtracks

Here Am I, Broken Hearted
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
Sung by Gordon MacRae
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"The Best Things in Life are Free" - how about a letterboxed print, 20th Century Fox?
19 September 2010 | by See all my reviews

Michael Curtiz's 1956 film "The Best Things in Life are Free" was frequently shown on Chicago television in the 1960s. I had not seen the film until it was recently broadcast on the Fox Movie Channel. Unfortunately, it was not a letterboxed print, so it was very difficult to determine the film's merits as it had the left and right margins entirely cut off. That aside, I think it was an attempt at a darkish musical with Curtiz touches and this was reflected in the script.

The film is entirely done on soundstages, no exteriors at all, so it feels kind of clunky, as many of the early Cinemascope films were as well.

I liked the actors, especially the wonderful actor and dancer Sheree North. Her best number, "Black Bottom", was badly impacted by the lack of a letterboxed print. She was very fortunate to be partnered by one of George Balanchine's finest male dancers, Jacques d'Amboise, photographed here in his dancing prime. Lucky Sheree North! Dancer (and future partner of Fred Astaire) Barrie Chase is also featured in the film.

I was amused by Ernest Borgnine's dancing, singing and acting, puzzled by Dan Dailey's lack of dancing, and liked Gordon MacRae, who played Buddy daSylva.

I liked the film, and hope to see a letterboxed print in the future.


6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 12 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page