6.1/10
213
10 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 | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Songwriter Gus Kahn gets the Hollywood treatment. The film chronicles his success and decline, with his wife Grace sticking by him the whole time.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Doris Day, Danny Thomas, 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 | Sport
    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
The Hangman (1959)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

U.S.Marshal Bovard comes to a small border town to identify and arrest a fugitive but the whole town seems determined to prevent the marshal from doing his job.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Robert Taylor, Tina Louise, Fess Parker
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An unhappy wife uses her powers of manipulation to draw an infatuated man into an ill-fated jewelry heist.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Carol Ohmart, Tom Tryon, Jody Lawrance
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
Force of Arms (1951)
Romance | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 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 | 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
Comedy | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A woman is kidnapped. While in captivity, she manages to send a message out with a wandering cat. The cat's owner calls the FBI. The FBI tries to follow the cat. Jealous boyfriends and nosy... See full summary »

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Hayley Mills, Dean Jones, Dorothy Provine
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
Bright Leaf (1950)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In 1894, Brant Royle shocks the aristocratic tobacco growers of Kingsmont by planning to mass-produce cigarettes.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Gary Cooper, Lauren Bacall, Patricia Neal
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
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ray Henderson
...
Lew Brown
...
Kitty Kane
...
Carl Frisbee
Murvyn Vye ...
Manny Costain
...
Maggie Henderson
...
Winfield Sheehan
Tony Galento ...
Fingers
Norman Brooks ...
Jacques d'Amboise ...
Specialty Dancer
Roxanne Arlen ...
Perky Nichols
Byron Palmer ...
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

"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

Features The Singing Fool (1928) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
MOVIE - The Best Things In Life Are Free mimiboo60
Ann B Davis was in this show. see photo kemler
Discuss The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?