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The Alice Faye Collection (That Night in Rio / Lillian Russell / On the Avenue / The Gang's All Here)

26 customer reviews

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The Alice Faye Collection (That Night in Rio / Lillian Russell / On the Avenue / The Gang's All Here) + Alice Faye Collection 2 (Rose of Washington Square/Hollywood Cavalcade/The Great American Broadcast/Hello, Frisco, Hello/Four Jills in a Jeep) (Full Chk Gift) + The Betty Grable Collection, Vol. 1 (My Blue Heaven / The Dolly Sisters / Moon Over Miami / Down Argentine Way)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Disc 1: THE GANGS ALL HERE Disc 2: ON THE AVENUE Disc 3: LILLIAN RUSSELL Disc 4: THAT NIGHT IN RIO

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The brevity of her stardom might account for her relative lack of 21st-century fame, but believe it: Alice Faye was a huge star. She was the queen of Twentieth Century Fox for a few years and became the heroine of the wartime musical until she was displaced by her Fox stablemate Betty Grable. As a singer, she enjoyed a string of hits with her surprising voice, a low, mellow croon, which somehow sounds like the World War II homefront. Faye's fleshy, cornfed face had much to do with her girl-next-door persona, although the figure she shows off in a gold dress in That Night in Rio leaves no doubt about another aspect of her appeal.

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


Special Features

  • "Alice Faye - A Life On Screen" and "Alice Faye - A Life Off Screen" featurettes
  • Film Historian Commentary on On the Avenue and The Gang's All Here
  • Deleted Scenes from On the Avenue, That Night in Rio, and The Gang's All Here
  • "A Woman Like No Other: The Real Lillian Russell" featurette
  • "Busby Berkeley: A Journey With a Star" featurette
  • Alice Faye's Last Film: "We Still Are!"
  • Excerpts from "The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show"
  • Restoration Comparisons
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • Still Galleries

Product Details

  • Actors: Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda, Phil Baker, Benny Goodman, Benny Goodman Orchestra
  • Directors: Busby Berkeley, Irving Cummings, Roy Del Ruth
  • Writers: Bess Meredyth, Eddie Cherkose, Gene Markey, George Root Jr., George Seaton
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 410 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000K7VHMS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,487 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Alice Faye Collection (That Night in Rio / Lillian Russell / On the Avenue / The Gang's All Here)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Douglas M VINE VOICE on January 4, 2007
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While the musicals of MGM are best remembered and most admired today due to Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland and the production unit of Arthur Freed, it is worth remembering that Twentieth Century Fox were scoring consistent bulls' eyes at the boxoffice at the same time with their much less pretentious and more accessible blondes Alice Faye, Betty Grable and June Haver. The first, and for some, the best of these blondes was Alice Faye and this DVD collection is a welcome addition to the Fox Marquee Musical Series.

Faye was an excellent singer with a natural but untrained contralto voice and an instinct for interpretation which made her the most popular female "pop" singer in films of her era. She was the female equal of Bing Crosby. Composers clambered to have her introduce their songs and she launched far more standards than any of her contemporaries. She also developed into a competent actress with a trade mark modesty, vulnerability and warmth which captured the hearts of all, particularly men.

This collection contains 4 films all of which were Box Office smashes. The first two are in black and white and the last two in the garish technicolour for which Fox musicals became famous. All of the films benefit from Fox's trademark sound and photography, possibly the best in Hollywood. More detailed descriptions of each film can be viewed under the individual titles but by way of summary:

- "On the Avenue", released in 1937, has Faye supporting Dick Powell and Madelaine Carroll in a funny film whereby Powell's play lampoons the richest girl in the world, played by Carroll. Faye plays Powell's sidekick and carries her share of the excellent Irving Berlin songs, including the rollicking "Let's go Slumming" and the superb lament "This Years Kisses".
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 2006
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This collection of Alice Faye movies is a must for all lovers of musicals. Although MGM is considered the leader when it comes to musicals, 20th Century Fox musicals are my favorites. They are less steeped in reality and, for me, a lot more colorful and fun. The GANG'S ALL HERE is a Busby Berkeley Technicolor extravaganza with Alice, Carmen Miranda, Charlotte Greenwood and Benny Goodman and His Orch. Don't miss it! THAT NIGHT IN RIO is another beautiful Technicolor winner with Alice, Carmen Miranda and Don Ameche in dual roles. LILLIAN RUSSELL is a turn-of-the century bio-pic filled with great music, costumes and elaborate sets. ON THE AVENUE boasts a wonderful score by the master himself, Irving Berlin. Alice is joined by Dick Powell and Madelaine Carroll in this musical comedy romp with the zany Ritz Bros.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Desgranges on February 28, 2007
The studio should have invested more in the film to dvd transfer, the colors are a real disaster especially in "The Gang's All here".

I whish I could ask for a refund. You know now what to expect...
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Arbiter of Good Taste on February 21, 2007
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has been turning out some first-rate discs lately, exemplified by last week's release of "The Mr. Moto Collection, Volume 2," the final release in the studio' Mr. Moto series. The Moto films, atmospheric tales of international intrigue starring Peter Lorre as a vaguely Asian adventurer, again look sharp, clear and solid in Fox's transfers.

But something has gone horribly wrong with "The Alice Faye Collection," a four-disc set of Fox musicals including one of the studio's crown jewels: "The Gang's All Here," Busby Berkeley's psychedelic Technicolor extravaganza of 1943. The original Technicolor separation negatives were destroyed in the 1980s at a time when Fox was trying to purge its library of nitrate film elements, and the movie was transferred to an Eastman Color internegative on safety stock. The Eastman material has since faded, producing dark, heavy tones. Fox's engineers have apparently made an attempt to brighten the colors digitally, only to have the pigments look flat and pale.

The results, as in the celebrated giant bananas number starring the unforgettable Carmen Miranda, are disappointing and even grotesque; those big bananas are a washed-out tan color rather than the original, eye-popping yellow.

The other films in the set - Irving Cummings's Technicolor "That Night in Rio" (1941); Mr. Cummings's black-and-white biopic "Lillian Russell" (1940); and Roy Del Ruth's adaptation of Irving Berlin's "On the Avenue" - look somewhat better, though "Avenue" shows serious print damage throughout.

But "The Gang's All Here" represents another great film lost, this time right under our noses. We, and the studio libraries, ought to know better by now.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C. Clark on April 11, 2007
This is a very nice set from Fox. After the dismal sales of the Betty Grable Collection, I was worried that Alice Faye's films wouldn't be coming out. Not the case. Fox did an excellent job with extras and the transfers look very good, except The Gangs All Here. It's really disappointng since this was such a vibrant Technicolor musical. The movie looks washed out and has a mustardy yellow greenish tinge. If you look at the restoration comparison, you'll clearly see that the Laser Disc version from 1994 was sooooo much better. They should seriously do something with this awful transfer and do a disc replacement. Shame on you fox. Other than that one mishap, this is a grear set for Alice Faye fans and musical fans, too.
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Printed Insert missing with ON THE AVENUE dvd
The insert was left out of many copies of "On the Avenue". To get an insert go to www.alicefaye.com and contact the webmaster.
Aug 23, 2007 by George Ulrich |  See all 2 posts
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