IMDb > The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956)

The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
28 September 1956 (USA) See more »
John O'Hara's flaming portrait of the jazz age... and the guys and gals who made it Zing!
Ray Henderson joins Buddy De Sylva and Lew Brown to form a successful 1920s musical show writing team... See more » | Add synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. See more »
User Reviews:
Bland composer bio in CinemaScope See more (10 total) »


  (in credits order)

Gordon MacRae ... B.G. 'Buddy' De Sylva

Dan Dailey ... Ray Henderson

Ernest Borgnine ... Lew Brown

Sheree North ... Kitty Kane

Tommy Noonan ... Carl Frisbee
Murvyn Vye ... Manny Costain

Phyllis Avery ... Maggie Henderson

Larry Keating ... Winfield Sheehan
Tony Galento ... Fingers
Norman Brooks ... Al Jolson
Jacques d'Amboise ... Specialty Dancer
Roxanne Arlen ... Perky Nichols
Byron Palmer ... Hollywood Star
Linda Brace ... Jeannie Henderson
Patty Lou Hudson ... Susie Henderson
Julie Van Zandt ... Patricia Van Seckland
Larry Kerr ... Brewer
Charles Victor ... Andrews
Eugene Borden ... Louis
Harold Miller ... Percy - Theatre Critic
Emily Belser ... Photographer
Paul Glass ... Piano Player
Bill Foster ... Dance Director in Film
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Aladdin ... Studio Executive (uncredited)
Adelle August ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Robert Banas ... Newsboy (uncredited)
Lois Barnes ... Clara Bow-type (uncredited)
Francesca Bellini ... Dancer (uncredited)
Gail Bonney ... Woman in Back Row (uncredited)
Jack Boyle ... Dance Director (uncredited)
Paul Bradley ... Premiere Attendee (uncredited)

Barrie Chase ... Chorine (uncredited)
Juanita Close ... Telephone Operator (uncredited)
Tom Coleman ... Party Waiter (uncredited)
Richard Collier ... Pawnbroker (uncredited)
Clancy Cooper ... Bootlegger (uncredited)
Suzanne Dalbert ... Hostess (uncredited)
Harvey Daniels ... Usher (uncredited)
Barbara Darrow ... Brenda (uncredited)

Ann B. Davis ... Hattie Stewart (uncredited)
Lisa Davis ... Limp Party Girl (uncredited)
Denise De Lacey ... Silent Film Ingenue (uncredited)
Franklyn Farnum ... Theatregoer (uncredited)
Joseph Forte ... Man in Theatre Lobby (uncredited)
James Gonzalez ... Movie Director (uncredited)
Paul Grant ... Usher (uncredited)
Marcoreta Hellman ... Wardrobe Woman (uncredited)

Bill Hickman ... Moviegoer at Premiere (uncredited)
Bob Hopkins ... Broadway Character (uncredited)
Betsy Jones-Moreland ... Secretary (uncredited)
Claire Kelly ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Kenner G. Kemp ... First Nighter (uncredited)
Ethan Laidlaw ... Stagehand (uncredited)
Mike Lally ... Film Studio Technician (uncredited)
Peter Leeds ... Genius (uncredited)
Carl M. Leviness ... Theatregoer (uncredited)
Peter Mamakos ... Henchman (uncredited)
Thomas Martin ... Theatregoer (uncredited)
Natalie Masters ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Marjorie May ... Silent Movie Vamp (uncredited)

Frank McClure ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Patricia McMahon ... Party Girl (uncredited)

Barry Norton ... First Nighter (uncredited)
George Offerman Jr. ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Joe Ploski ... Bootleg Runner (uncredited)

Juliet Prowse ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Gordon Richards ... Butler (uncredited)
Mary Rodman ... Girl in Low-Cut Dress (uncredited)
Ric Roman ... Henchman (uncredited)

Marion Ross ... Nita Naldi-type (uncredited)
Cosmo Sardo ... Party Guest (uncredited)
Sam Schwartz ... Bootlegger (uncredited)
Steffi Sidney ... Dancer in Marathon (uncredited)
Rachel Stephens ... Society Reporter (uncredited)
Hal Taggart ... Script Supervisor (uncredited)
Larri Thomas ... Dancer (uncredited)
Mary Thomas ... Party Girl (uncredited)
Sally Todd ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... First-Nighter (uncredited)
Billy Wayne ... Stagehand (uncredited)
Cecil Weston ... Wardrobe Woman (uncredited)
Yvonne White ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Barbara Wilson ... Chorus Girl (uncredited)
Ward Wood ... Henchman (uncredited)
Norma Yost ... Theresa (uncredited)

Directed by
Michael Curtiz 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
William Bowers 
Phoebe Ephron 
John O'Hara  story
Frank Tashlin  uncredited

Produced by
Henry Ephron .... producer
Original Music by
Leigh Harline (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Leon Shamroy 
Film Editing by
Dorothy Spencer 
Art Direction by
Maurice Ransford 
Lyle R. Wheeler 
Set Decoration by
Paul S. Fox 
Walter M. Scott 
Costume Design by
Charles Le Maire 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Silver .... assistant director
Art Department
John DeCuir .... art director: musical settings
Music Department
Earle Hagen .... orchestrator
Charles Henderson .... vocal supervisor
Bernard Mayers .... orchestrator
Lionel Newman .... conductor
Lionel Newman .... music supervisor
Herbert W. Spencer .... orchestrator (as Herbert Spencer)
Maurice De Packh .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Rod Alexander .... choreographer
Bill Foster .... choreographer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
104 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Did You Know?

Revealing mistakes: 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 »
Birth of the BluesSee more »


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2 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Bland composer bio in CinemaScope, 11 June 2001

This was the swan song of a genre - that of the fictional composer biography - that began with MGM's TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY in 1946. It looks pretty tired now. The unusual writing team of three men (Henderson,Brown and DeSylva) is presented in pretty blase Hollywood terms, even though it's in CinemaScope (Fox used the same title writing and backgrounds as it had for another of its Scope features that year, CAROUSEL). The scoring earned an Oscar nom but it's nothing special. The costumes are lavish and did deserve the nod. This is another of those musicals where you come out humming the costumes. Unremarkable and ordinary. Although you DO get to see and hear Ernest Borgnine sing and dance. Adults are non-plussed at the sight and it makes small children cry.

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