5.9/10
260
12 user 5 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. Soon, they've got several hits on Broadway, but De Sylva's ambition leads to friction ... See full summary »

Director:

Michael Curtiz
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 Tony Galento ... Fingers
Norman Brooks Norman Brooks ... Al Jolson
Jacques d'Amboise Jacques d'Amboise ... Specialty Dancer
Roxanne Arlen ... Perky Nichols
Byron Palmer ... Hollywood Star
Linda Brace Linda Brace ... Jeannie Henderson
Patty Lou Hudson 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. Soon, they've got several hits on Broadway, but De Sylva's ambition leads to friction amongst the group, as the other 2 feel increasingly left out. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El encanto de vivir See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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

Button Up Your Overcoat
Music by Ray Henderson
Lyrics by Lew Brown and Buddy G. DeSylva
Sung by Dan Dailey and Gordon MacRae
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Middle-drawer Fox musical...not a predictable place to find Ernest Borgnine!
19 September 2010 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

Working-stiff family man Ray Henderson, a piano player who dabbles in songwriting, meets struggling composers Buddy De Sylva and Lew Brown in 1920s Atlantic City; their musical partnership, formed by chance, evolves into a successful team which reaches the heights of Broadway and Hollywood. Biography of colorful tunesmith-trio who had hits with Al Jolson's "Sonny Boy" and the novelty numbers "Button Up Your Overcoat" and "Sunny Side Up" is nearly run into the ground by meandering musical routines which simply are not up to previous 20th Century-Fox standards. The casting also seems off: as the mercurial Brown, it isn't long before Ernest Borgnine loses his proverbial temper, yet his transitions from angry brute to dancing maestro have no resonance (the character never takes shape); Sheree North is the songbird who seems bound by faith to the three guys, though it's obvious her singing and dancing isn't as special as it's meant to be. As peace-keeper Henderson, Dan Dailey looks a bit sheepish at times (particularly in the "Overcoat" number), though Gordon MacRae as the overtly-ambitious De Sylva is nicely attuned to this milieu (and, for once, MacRae's baritone isn't over-worked). The production is glossy but lacks pizazz, while the uncertain path post-Hollywood isn't used to give the story an arc, only to point us to the formulaic happy ending. ** from ****


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