The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956)

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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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Title: The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Henderson
Lew Brown
Kitty Kane
Carl Frisbee
Murvyn Vye ...
Manny Costain
Maggie Henderson
Winfield Sheehan
Tony Galento ...
Norman Brooks ...
Jacques d'Amboise ...
Specialty Dancer
Roxanne Arlen ...
Perky Nichols
Byron Palmer ...
Hollywood Star
Linda Brace ...
Jeannie Henderson
Patty Lou Hudson ...
Susie Henderson


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


Biography | Musical


See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El encanto de vivir  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


It All Depends on You
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
See more »

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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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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