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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 »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

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

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

28 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El encanto de vivir  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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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

Button Up Your Overcoat
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
Sung by Dan Dailey and Gordon MacRae
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User Reviews

 
Middle-drawer Fox musical...not a predictable place to find Ernest Borgnine!
19 September 2010 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

Working-stiff family man Ray Henderson, a piano player who dabbles in songwriting, meets struggling composers Buddy De Sylva and Lew Brown in 1920s Atlantic City; their musical partnership, formed by chance, evolves into a successful team which reaches the heights of Broadway and Hollywood. Biography of colorful tunesmith-trio who had hits with Al Jolson's "Sonny Boy" and the novelty numbers "Button Up Your Overcoat" and "Sunny Side Up" is nearly run into the ground by meandering musical routines which simply are not up to previous 20th Century-Fox standards. The casting also seems off: as the mercurial Brown, it isn't long before Ernest Borgnine loses his proverbial temper, yet his transitions from angry brute to dancing maestro have no resonance (the character never takes shape); Sheree North is the songbird who seems bound by faith to the three guys, though it's obvious her singing and dancing isn't as special as it's meant to be. As peace-keeper Henderson, Dan Dailey looks a bit sheepish at times (particularly in the "Overcoat" number), though Gordon MacRae as the overtly-ambitious De Sylva is nicely attuned to this milieu (and, for once, MacRae's baritone isn't over-worked). The production is glossy but lacks pizazz, while the uncertain path post-Hollywood isn't used to give the story an arc, only to point us to the formulaic happy ending. ** from ****


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