6.1/10
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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 »

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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
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Kitty Kane
...
Carl Frisbee
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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

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Details

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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

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Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

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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

Together
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
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User Reviews

 
Tin Pan Alley men
9 March 2005 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

It's hard to believe Michael Curtiz directed this film. Mr. Curtiz, one of the most distinguished directors of the American cinema, doesn't bring anything new to this tired 20th Century Fox movie.

Maybe the three men at the center of the movie, the great song writing team of De Sylva, Brown and Henderson were too bland to merit a film that celebrated their lives. They made their mark in the theater in the early part of the 20th century, but as it plays on the screen, this musical feels dull and out of place. Some of the trio's best songs are heard in the movie. Songs like Birth of the Blues, which Gordon MacRae sings with panache. Also they wrote that sappy Al Jolson's standard, Sunny Boy, which is sung by the star in black face.

Perhaps the casting was the wrong choice for this movie. Gordon MacRae doesn't show any spark as Buddy DeSylva. Dan Dailey is also an enigma, the way he plays Ray Henderson. Ernest Borgnine is the only one that shows some life in his interpretation of Lew Brown. Sheree North is the good Kitty Kane, who played in most of the shows this trio wrote.


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