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The four-disc Alice Faye Collection gives a cross-section of Faye's Fox career: one film as the up-and-comer (On the Avenue), two splashy mega-musicals (The Gang's All Here and That Night in Rio), and one expensive, serious musical biopic (Lillian Russell). In all, she smolders rather than burns, and rarely goes long without a song.
The 1937 On the Avenue is an Irving Berlin spectacle with a silly streak: Broadway boy Dick Powell locks horns with the richest girl in America (Madeleine Carroll), with Faye on the sidelines as Powell's regular-gal pal. You can see why audiences loved her, and the movie itself is a snappy, sarcastic little gem, featuring some antic routines by the Ritz Brothers and a kooky collection of Berlin tunes (including "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"). Lillian Russell, a 1940 bio of the famous Gay 90s singer, was intended as Faye's crack at a dramatic role. The movie's whitewash of Russell's real story (which, as a 20-minute documentary makes clear, made Russell the Madonna of her era) limits Faye's chances. Henry Fonda plays a long-faithful suitor, with Don Ameche and Edward Arnold (reprising his title role from the film Diamond Jim Brady) also in her orbit. That Night in Rio casts Faye opposite frequent co-star Ameche again; he plays a double role, as a suave Baron and a brash nightclub impersonator. The story is nonsense, but Carmen Miranda is around to do the chica-boom, and Alice looks drop-dead sexy.
And then there's The Gang's All Here, one of Hollywood's most legendary excursions into surrealism. Don't pay attention to the plot--just check out director Busby Berkeley's lunatic staging of the dance numbers. "The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat," a showpiece for Carmen Miranda (it's the one with the giant bananas in a chorus line) looks like something dreamed up by Salvador Dali after an acid trip. Benny Goodman's swing band is also around.
Some care has gone into the DVD extras: a two-part bio of Alice Faye, featuring her daughters (and giving the story of how Faye walked away from film in 1945); a charming film she made for the Pfizer drug company, extolling the virtues of keeping fit; and a 20-minute intro to Berkeley's style. The print transfers are more problematic. Avenue looks fine, and Rio looks like other Fox color films of the era. Lillian Russell is preceded by a disclaimer warning of the limitations of original source materials, and indeed the print here is marred by serious tears in the middle of the screen during a few sequences. Gang's All Here will disappoint Technicolor fans; the colors don't "pop" as they should, and the film looks dimmer and vaguer than its onetime splendor. Here's hoping a cleaner, fuller version will emerge. --Robert Horton
While Alice Faye is wonderful in what few scenes she has, only the Lillian Russell story allows her to shine. Read morePublished 11 months ago by mike ellis
Having come upon this set in the manner of one watching Turner Classic Movies, having no idea of who Alice Faye was, but hoping for some light entertainment, I can say I was not... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Gord Wilson
4 great Alice Faye movies with her beautiful voice and personality. I'm also a big fan of Don Ameche movie fan.Published 17 months ago by Charles M. Cottle
The movies were extremely fun and an excelent family entertainment. "The gang is all here" is a three-star propduction but Alice Faye's performance made up for it. Read morePublished on May 23, 2013 by Hugo da Costa
This is a very nice collection of Alice Faye movies. I am a fan of the 30's and 40's films especially the musicals. The Alice Faye collection is terrific.Published on September 6, 2012 by Maurice Horowitz
Golden-haired songstress Alice Faye was "Queen of Fox" for nearly a decade, yet her prodigious film output has been limited on DVD to a few films, mostly with Tyrone Power; "The... Read morePublished on August 18, 2008 by Benjamin J Burgraff
After watching the Goldigger movies with Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler and great set & numbers done by Bugsby Berkley and enjoying Nelson Eddy and Jeanette Macdonald movies that are... Read morePublished on April 18, 2008 by Andre Villemaire
Betty Grables dvd has had great sales for 20thfox if it wern,t for grable's sales this alice faye collection would not have been released. Read morePublished on April 4, 2008 by BETTY GRABLE