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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
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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

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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

Features The Singing Fool (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

Thank Your Father
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
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User Reviews

 
"The Best Things in Life are Free" - how about a letterboxed print, 20th Century Fox?
19 September 2010 | by (United States) – 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.


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