Reviews & Ratings for
"Biography" Alice Faye: The Star Next Door (1996)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Nice documentary on a top leading lady of the '30s and early '40s

8/10
Author: blanche-2 from United States
25 November 2005

Though Alice Faye was alive at the time this biography was produced, she did not appear on camera. Instead, she let her friends, family, and most of all, her work do the talking. The result is a pleasant and interesting story of a wonderful 20th Century Fox star.

The narration tells of Faye's poor New York City background and her early success as a performer starting at the age of 14, as she lied about her age. After spending time as a dancer, she wound up on the radio with Rudy Vallee and eventually got her chance in Hollywood. When she got to Fox Studios, the idea was to turn her into their version of Harlow, but when Zanuck came in and the studio became 20th Century Fox, her image was changed to a more natural one. She went on to become a very big star in a series of musicals, notably "In Old Chicago," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Rose of Washington Square," "Lillian Russell," and others between the period of 1936-1945.

Faye walked out of 20th Century Fox in 1945, after seeing a rough cut of the Otto Preminger film "Dark Angel," in which she costarred with Dana Andrews. After fighting for a different kind of role, i.e., not a musical, Faye was hurt and distressed that the film had been cut to favor Linda Darnell. She left the studio forever, became a very big star on radio with her husband, Phil Harris, and didn't return to movies until 1962's State Fair. Not liking the changes in the film industry, she retired from movies for good. She had a big hit in "Good News" on the road and on Broadway, and later became a spokeswoman for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals promoting wellness for the elderly.

Faye, of course, wouldn't be the last star to make a fortune for Darryl F. Zanuck and then get short shrift. Two years later, he did the same thing to Tyrone Power, allowing him to make "Nightmare Alley" and then not promoting it and yanking it from release early. It's sad that these stars kept the studio going during hard times, only to be rewarded with bad treatment later on.

Faye enjoyed a wonderful career, however, and a wonderful home life, and we still have her movies to enjoy. Pretty, tough, smart, talented, generous, hard-working, and inspirational - you really can't ask for more than that.

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Alice Jeane Leppert and Her Boundless Energy

8/10
Author: WeatherViolet from United States
27 March 2010

Peter Graves narrates this account of the life and career of Alice Jeane Leppert who would rise from an impoverished New York City childhood to become an almost overnight singing sensation as film star Alice Faye.

(IMDb's first reviewer does an excellent job of capturing the essence of this poignant song-studded biography, and Alice's rise to and fall from grace with 20th Century Fox Studio, so I'll merely add a few additional highlights from the episode, without glancing at her essay for now....)

Alice's Broadway accomplishments include her chorus dancing in Vaudeville, her featured co-starring role (at sixteen) with Rudy Vallee in "George White's Scandals" (1931), and her later return in "Good News" (1973), with John Payne.

Radio clips are presented here of Jack Benny's program with husband Phil Harris, and of "The Phil Harris/Alice Faye Show," which runs for eight years, with very favorable popular reception throughout.

Miss Faye also pens an inspirational book, "Growing Older - Staying Young."

Alice's marriages are with Tony Bennett (1937-40) and Phil Harris (1941–1995), with whom she welcomes daughters Alice and Phyllis.

Phyllis Harris speaks of Alice as "Generous to a fault," Jane Withers as "Sensational in everything she does," Pat Boone as "One not singing a song, but singing her heart," and Roddy McDowall as "Never anybody like her, a deliciously sensual girl next door."

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Daughter Phyllis Harris, Actress Jane Withers, Actors Pat Boone and Roddy McDowall, Broadway Chorus Co-star Betty Scharf, Music Composer/Arranger Walter Scharf, Publisher Hugh M. Hefner, Producer/Archivist Wade Williams, and Film Historian Doctor Drew Casper.

Archive footage includes Alice Faye with Co-stars Rudy Vallee, Warner Baxter, Shirley Temple, Robert Young, Tony Martin, Tyrone Power, Betty Grable, John Payne, Dana Andrews, Linda Darnell, Pat Boone and others in speaking parts, and Jack Haley, Don Ameche, Buster Keaton, Ann-Margret, Bobby Darin and others in non-speaking parts.

Film Clips include a screen glimpse of Alice through the years, in scenes from "George White's Scandals" (1934), "She Learned About Sailors" (1934), "Now I'll Tell" (1934), "Music Is Magic" (1935), "George White's 1935 Scandals" (1935), "King of Burlesque" (1936), "Poor Little Rich Girl" (1936), "Sing, Baby, Sing" (1936), "In Old Chicago" (1937), "Sally, Irene and Mary" (1938), "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1938), "Rose of Washington Square" (1939), "Hollywood Cavalcade" (1939), "Lillian Russell" (1940), "Tin Pan Alley" (1940), "Down Argentine Way" (1940), "Week-End in Havana" (1941), "Hello, Frisco, Hello" (1943), "The Gang's All Here" (1943), "Fallen Angel" (1945), and "State Fair" (1962) plus a Pharmaceutical Public Service Endorsement.

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