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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:

See all certifications »
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Details

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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

"Strike Me Pink", the near-flop musical depicted at the end of the movie, had a Broadway run of three months (122 performances - a not-atypical run for a musical during the depths of the Great Depression) at the Majestic Theatre in the spring of 1933. The Samuel Goldwyn Company filmed Strike Me Pink (1936) three years later. Although this film shows the song "The Best Things in Life Are Free" being performed in the play, it does not appear in the song lists of the IMDb entry for the movie or the Internet Broadway Database entry for the play. 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 Sunnyside Up (1929) See more »

Soundtracks

Thank Your Father
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
See more »

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User Reviews

middling biopic of ok songwriters
10 August 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Henderson, De Sylva, and Brown. Not exactly in the same league as Berlin, Porter, or Rodgers and Hart/Hammerstein. Still, you may know a few of their songs as they've lingered through the years - 'The Birth of the Blues', for example, or 'Button Up Your Overcoat'; they also wrote the campus musical 'Good News'.

The three mismatched songwriters are played here by Gordon MacRae, Dan Dailey, and Ernest Borgnine. Yep, and he even has a song or two. The stand-out though has to be MacRae's superb rendition of 'The Birth of the Blues', in which he proved yet again why he was in the top handful of singers in the movies. Girly support is from Sheree North, but she isn't very memorable. Nor, in fact, is the story of this trio - perhaps musical biopics were tired by 1956, or we were just wise to the cliches.

'The Best Things In Life Are Free' is worth a look when there are no superior musicals on, and is a fairly good example of colour and Cinemascope of the period. But a great musical, it isn't.


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