6.1/10
227
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... 

Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 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
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
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
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An otherwise moral captain of a charter boat becomes financially strapped and is drawn into illegal activities in order to keep up payments on his boat.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Garfield, Patricia Neal, Phyllis Thaxter
Biography | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The success and decline of songwriter Gus Kahn is portrayed, with his wife, Grace Kahn, sticking by him the whole time.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Doris Day, Danny Thomas, Frank Lovejoy
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
Force of Arms (1951)
Romance | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During World War II in Italy, an American sergeant and WAC lieutenant take time out for romance.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: William Holden, Nancy Olson, Frank Lovejoy
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
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Struggling to retain custody of his daughter following his divorce, football coach Steve Williams finds himself embroiled in a recruiting scandal at the tiny Catholic college he is trying ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: John Wayne, Donna Reed, Charles Coburn
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 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
Mystery | Crime
    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 | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The secretary of an affably suave radio mystery host mysteriously commits suicide after his wealthy young niece disappears.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Claude Rains, Joan Caulfield, Audrey Totter
Edit

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
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

Show detailed 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 Sunnyside Up (1929) See more »

Soundtracks

Lucky Day
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
Sung by Dan Dailey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Ernest Borgnine is oddly cast as a super-angry guy who co-stars in a musical!
10 February 2016 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I have no idea how accurate this bio-pic is about the musical writing team of Lew Brown (Ernest Borgnine), Buddy De Silva (Gordon MacRae) and Ray Henderson (Dan Dailey) is, I have no idea as information about these guys' personal lives is scant on the internet. However, I strongly believe it's mostly fiction because that was the norm for films like this in Hollywood during this time. Besides, I find it very hard to believe Lew Brown could be this angry all the time! He did die from a heart attack...so who knows? Not surprisingly, the film only focuses on a small portion of their lives--from the time they teamed up in the 1920s through their time in Hollywood and Broadway.

Much of the film is your typical 1950s musical--with some incredibly irrelevant and artsy dance numbers that are dream sequences (sort of like shorter versions of the HUGE one in "An American in Paris") and some traditional song/dance numbers. In between, there is story...but often this takes a back seat to the songs.

Did I like it? Not much. It's reasonably well made and the trio wrote some very familiar tunes that are sometimes enjoyable. But Borgnine's one-note performance wasn't enjoyable and the other characters seemed underdeveloped...though not as badly as Borgnine's. MacRae had a nice voice and was a heel. Dailey played the piano and was bland. I really wish they'd eliminated a few songs and focused much more on the story...but that is personal taste and the 1950s musicals often were more music than story. Compared to these other musicals, this one is just okay...and the Jolson sequences are, not surprisingly, dated. Seeing a guy who's obviously not Jolson and hiding it by ALWAYS having him in black-face was kind of silly...and tacky.


0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?