Best Things In Life Are Free, The (1956 with Gordon MacRae and Dan Dailey)

USA / 1956

Director: Michael Curtiz
Writers: William Bowers, Phoebe Ephron, John O’Hara

Cast: Gordon MacRae, Dan Dailey, Ernest Borgnine, Sheree North, Tommy Noonan, Murvyn Vye, Phyllis Avery, Larry Keating, Tony Galento

Michael Curtiz’s lavish musical tribute to Tin Pan Alley songwriting trio Buddy De Sylva, Lew Brown and Roy Henderson – played respectively by Gordon MacRae, Dan Dailey and Ernest Borgnine – is packed with no less than 20 of their catchy tunes.

A fairly straight-forward biography is enlivened by a smattering of romance and an excellent ensemble performance. Sheree North reveals herself to be a mean songstress and dancer and there is good support from Murvyn Vye as a gangster who wants to get in on the trio’s financial success and Tony Galento as another hoodlum sent to protect the boys from the Mob. According to Variety , the film, “easily rates as one of the year’s best musicals. It’s a sparkling string of hits that’s presented here with all the nostalgic attention they deserve. Performances are top calibre… it all adds up to a bundle of good entertainment.”

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