6.1/10
248
12 user 4 critic

The Best Things in Life Are Free (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Musical | 28 September 1956 (USA)
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 »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

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
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 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
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 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
Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A struggling artist in a small town becomes the prime suspect when his wife mysteriously disappears.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Alan Ladd, Carolyn Jones, Diane Brewster
The Hangman (1959)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 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
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 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
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Tom Brewster, handy with a rope but not a gun, rides into town and mails his lawyer's exam. When his lack of ability with a gun is exposed, the town boss Turlock offers him the job of ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Will Rogers Jr., Nancy Olson, Lon Chaney Jr.
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
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Ambassador Joseph Davies is sent by FDR to Russia to learn about the Soviet system and returns to America as an advocate of Stalinism.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Walter Huston, Ann Harding, Oskar Homolka
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Torch singer Helen Morgan rises from sordid beginnings to fame and fortune only to lose it all to alcohol and poor personal choices.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Ann Blyth, Paul Newman, Richard Carlson
Biography | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The success and decline of songwriter Gus Kahn is portrayed, with his wife, Grace Kahn, sticking by him the whole time.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Doris Day, Danny Thomas, Frank Lovejoy
Comedy | Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Three Devil's Island escapees hide out in the home of a kindly merchant and repay his kindness by helping him and his family out of several crises.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Peter Ustinov, Aldo Ray
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... B.G. 'Buddy' De Sylva
... Ray Henderson
... Lew Brown
... Kitty Kane
... Carl Frisbee
... Manny Costain
... Maggie Henderson
... Winfield Sheehan
Tony Galento ... Fingers
Norman Brooks ... Al Jolson
Jacques d'Amboise ... Specialty Dancer
... Perky Nichols
... 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:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El encanto de vivir  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show more 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

Together
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 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.


6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 12 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial