MarkH

Alice Faye and Fox musicals

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Anyone else here a fan of Alice Faye? She wasn’t the bombshell that was Betty Grable, but in her own gorgeous sweet but sultry way she steals every movie she’s in for me. Fox musicals sometimes seem dumb or unsophisticated compared to WB’s or MGM’s. And mostly they are. BUT, if you ever get to see Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Tin Pan Alley or some of the others in a theater with an audience - it’s amazing how well those pictures work! They were meant to entertain and boy do they ever! Especially for me, when they focus on the beautiful Miss Faye with her gorgeous eyes and sultry voice.

Greatest of all is the incredible The Gang’s all Here. But that’s a whole topic unto itself.

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I'm a huge fan of hers too. I think I read she only had an eighth grade education. She grew up in Hell's Kitchen and was from a rough background. But she was just so sweet and beautiful on screen. And her voice was superb. To me, she's like the female Bing Crosby, the way she croons a love song.

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I don't know if I would call myself a fan but I like her. The first time I saw her was in the 1962 remake of State Fair. She was in her late 40s and played the mother. I later saw her in Stowaway and was very impressed with her beauty and voice back then. Up until then I had no idea!

 

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 I’ve never seen any of her early Fox films though. I’ve got some catching up to do.

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Alice Faye filmography:
Screen Shot 2018-06-13 at 8.18.51 PM.jpg
GEORGE WHITE'S SCANDALS (1934)...debut at Fox; lead 
NOW I'LL TELL (1934)...Fox, in support of Helen Twelvetrees
SHE LEARNED ABOUT SAILORS (1934)...Fox; lead
365 NIGHTS IN HOLLYWOOD (1934)...Fox; lead
GEORGE WHITE'S 1935 SCANDALS (1935)...Fox; lead
EVERY NIGHT AT EIGHT (1935)...loan out to Paramount; lead
MUSIC IS MAGIC (1935)...Fox; lead
KING OF BURLESQUE (1936)...Fox; lead
POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL (1936)...Fox; in support of Shirley Temple
SING BABY SING (1936)...Fox; lead
STOWAWAY (1936)...Fox; in support of Shirley Temple
IN OLD CHICAGO (1937)...Fox; lead
ON THE AVENUE (1937)...Fox; in support of Madeleine Carroll
YOU CAN'T HAVE EVERYTHING (1937)...Fox; lead
WAKE UP AND LIVE (1937)...Fox; lead
YOU'RE A SWEETHEART (1937)...loan out to Universal; lead
SALLY IRENE AND MARY (1938)...Fox; lead
ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND (1938)...Fox; lead
TAIL SPIN (1939)...Fox; lead
ROSE OF WASHINGTON SQUARE (1939)...Fox; lead
HOLLYWOOD CAVALCADE (1939)...Fox; lead
BARRICADE (1939)...Fox; lead
LITTLE OLD NEW YORK (1940)...Fox; lead
LILLIAN RUSSELL (1940)...Fox; lead
TIN PAN ALLEY (1940)...Fox; lead
THAT NIGHT IN RIO (1941)...Fox; lead
THE GREAT AMERICAN BROADCAST (1941)...Fox; lead
WEEK-END IN HAVANA (1941)...Fox; lead
HELLO FRISCO HELLO (1943)...Fox; lead
THE GANG'S ALL HERE (1943)...Fox; lead
FOUR JILLS IN A JEEP (1944)...Fox; cameo
FALLEN ANGEL (1945)...Fox; lead
STATE FAIR (1962)...Fox; in support of Pat Boone

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Adore her and Betty Grable. I find it very strange that neither of them have been acknowledge during the class when they were two of the biggest stars during the War years. I know TCM has limited access to their films, but certainly their impact, along with fellow Fox star Carmen Miranda, could have been acknowledged. 

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I am surprised there are only one or two 20th Century Fox Musicals in this course. Granted, they are not as well done as MGM musicals, but they were very popular and in many cases, were more reflective of the social and cultural times during WWII.  Betty Grable was a big star and the pin up girl during the war. The Grable musical Pin-Up Girl (1944) has Betty working in the War Department as a secretary and singing in a club at night. The finale of the film has Betty and a hundred women in “Army” uniforms marching in formation in a Bugsby Berkley like extravaganza. This film highlights the participation of women in the war effort.  In Down Argentina Way (1940) the Good Neighbor policy of FDR is prominently featured with South American locations, music and dancing. Carmen Miranda makes an appearance in this film. And what about Alice Faye. Her Musicals were pure American Patriotism (Tin Pan Alley 1940, Alexander’s Ragtime Band 1938) and also part of the Good Neighbor Policy (Weekend in Havana 1941). The Gang’s All Here (1943) boasts wartime effort (war bond drive and women missing their men at war) and the Good Neighbor Policy (Carmen Miranda and the opening musical number with a South American cargo ship unloading in New York.  Finally, what about Four Jills and a Jeep. This is a musical based on the true experiences of Hollywood actresses entertaining troops overseas on the military bases and front lines. I think not including these films and stars misses a big part of the history of the 1940s musical.  

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53 minutes ago, BartG said:

Adore her and Betty Grable. I find it very strange that neither of them have been acknowledge during the class when they were two of the biggest stars during the War years. I know TCM has limited access to their films, but certainly their impact, along with fellow Fox star Carmen Miranda, could have been acknowledged. 

TCM does not have limited access to Fox films. They just chose not to pay the fees to license those films. That's why the Mad about the Musicals course is a bit lopsided in terms of studio representation. It's basically a way for them to use the MGM and WB musicals at their disposal. This course should really be titled Mad about MGM and WB musicals.

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I am so thrilled to hear someone mention Alice Faye. I simply adore her!  The Gang's all here is one of the coolest films ever, in my book. I also loved her show with Phil. I listen to episodes of that often.  While we can't watch them on TCM they are still fabulous films.  I wish she had worked for MGM, just think of what she could have made. 

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2 hours ago, Chelle Belle said:

I am so thrilled to hear someone mention Alice Faye. I simply adore her!  The Gang's all here is one of the coolest films ever, in my book. I also loved her show with Phil. I listen to episodes of that often.  While we can't watch them on TCM they are still fabulous films.  I wish she had worked for MGM, just think of what she could have made. 

Why should she have worked for MGM? She did quite well with Fox...very well!

She was in a protracted disagreement with Daryl Zanuck. He wouldn't release her from her contract and she still owed him a film on the contract. So she was prevented from going to another studio. The radio show she did with Phil was allowed because radio was not seen as competition with Fox films. But they had to say she was appearing courtesy of 20th Century Fox though she was no longer really working there.

Anyway, Zanuck tried to get her back by offering her the lead in STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (which went to Ruth Hussey and became a non-singing part). I think she would have been fantastic in that film. But she was very stubborn and would not forgive Zanuck for cutting a song she did for FALLEN ANGEL. The reason she eventually came back to Fox in 1962 to give them the film she still owed them (STATE FAIR) was because Zanuck had been temporarily ousted and she didn't have to deal with him.

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I was lucky enough to see Alice Faye on stage in a revival of Good News in Toronto in the early 1970s.  Even got her autograph after the show. She was charming.

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2 minutes ago, Elizabeth Milne said:

I was lucky enough to see Alice Faye on stage in a revival of Good News in Toronto in the early 1970s.  Even got her autograph after the show. She was charming.

Who was she touring with? Was it John Payne? I heard they toured together around that time. She cited him as her favorite costar at Fox.

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Yes, it was John Payne.  I was disappointed that he went out a different door, so we didn't get to see him up close, but I loved both of them in the show.

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10 minutes ago, Elizabeth Milne said:

Yes, it was John Payne.  I was disappointed that he went out a different door, so we didn't get to see him up close, but I loved both of them in the show.

I am sure you enjoyed the show. Lucky you!

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I am glad to see this topic.  I felt this course was lopsided, towand MGM and  W B musicals.  I did not realise that flim library would limit course material .  

My love of Classic film came from my childhood when the local NBC affiliate would show movies every weekday afternoon.  They  showed many Fox, paramount, and Columbia musical. when I was a l ittle  girl I loved coming home and watching these musicals.  Alice Faye, Betty Grable, Jack Haley, Shirley temple are among the performers missing or under represented in this course.    Betty Grable and Alice Fayes musicals were so patriotic and very much of their time.  

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I don't know if it's been mentioned anywhere on the TCM boards but the late Hugh Hefner was absolutely enchanted with Alice Faye.  Alice was Hugh's be-all, end-all.  In the early 1990s, Hugh was introduced to Alice at Cinecon, the wonderful classic film festival in Los Angeles, and he was absolutely tongue-tied meeting her.  

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On 6/13/2018 at 7:57 PM, MarkH said:

Anyone else here a fan of Alice Faye? She wasn’t the bombshell that was Betty Grable, but in her own gorgeous sweet but sultry way she steals every movie she’s in for me. Fox musicals sometimes seem dumb or unsophisticated compared to WB’s or MGM’s. And mostly they are. BUT, if you ever get to see Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Tin Pan Alley or some of the others in a theater with an audience - it’s amazing how well those pictures work! They were meant to entertain and boy do they ever! Especially for me, when they focus on the beautiful Miss Faye with her gorgeous eyes and sultry voice.

Greatest of all is the incredible The Gang’s all Here. But that’s a whole topic unto itself.

I really like Alice Faye and love her movies. She did a number of films in the thirties and several with Shirley Temple, including Stowaway, Poor Little Rich Girl. Alice Faye appeared with Jack Haley and Robert Young in the Temple films, but also in many others. I love Alexander's Ragtime Band as well. Thank you for including her.  I know that it is impossible to mention all, but there are some who should be spotlighted, including Alice Faye.  

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On 6/16/2018 at 10:09 AM, PrincessAnankaLuvsKharis said:

I don't know if it's been mentioned anywhere on the TCM boards but the late Hugh Hefner was absolutely enchanted with Alice Faye.  Alice was Hugh's be-all, end-all.  In the early 1990s, Hugh was introduced to Alice at Cinecon, the wonderful classic film festival in Los Angeles, and he was absolutely tongue-tied meeting her.  

Apparently, Mr. Hefner was tongue-tied while meeting several Fox stars.  I saw an interview with him on his Playboy Channel many years ago where he said that Betty Grable was the inspiration for his magazine but he ended up running a nude photo of Marilyn Monroe in his first issue.

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On 6/14/2018 at 9:59 AM, TopBilled said:

TCM does not have limited access to Fox films. They just chose not to pay the fees to license those films. That's why the Mad about the Musicals course is a bit lopsided in terms of studio representation. It's basically a way for them to use the MGM and WB musicals at their disposal. This course should really be titled Mad about MGM and WB musicals.

I hope everyone got a chance to see Betty Grable in "Moon Over Miami" around midnight on June 14th/15th on TCM.  Apparently it's the only Grable musical being shown this month!

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17 minutes ago, filmnoirguy said:

I hope everyone got a chance to see Betty Grable in "Moon Over Miami" around midnight on June 14th/15th on TCM.  Apparently it's the only Grable musical being shown this month!

Yes, that was a rare treat. It should have aired earlier in the evening, though. Why so late?

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TCM doesn't really play many FOX movies so I haven't really seen much of their musicals. I like Alexander's Ragtime Band and Tin Pan Alley. Alice Faye is a joy!

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Glad to see this topic! I love Alice Faye and I feel she doesn't get enough recognition. Such a shame TCM couldn't even get one of her films this month. I believe Irving Berlin said he rather have her introduce one of his songs than anybody else at the time. Such a huge compliment. I love Hello Frisco Hello. You'll Never Know seriously melts my heart. 

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1 hour ago, Kristy26 said:

Glad to see this topic! I love Alice Faye and I feel she doesn't get enough recognition. Such a shame TCM couldn't even get one of her films this month. I believe Irving Berlin said he rather have her introduce one of his songs than anybody else at the time. Such a huge compliment. I love Hello Frisco Hello. You'll Never Know seriously melts my heart. 

They aired STOWAWAY which Faye is in.

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On 6/14/2018 at 9:51 AM, TopBilled said:

Why should she have worked for MGM? She did quite well with Fox...very well!

She was in a protracted disagreement with Daryl Zanuck. He wouldn't release her from her contract and she still owed him a film on the contract. So she was prevented from going to another studio. The radio show she did with Phil was allowed because radio was not seen as competition with Fox films. But they had to say she was appearing courtesy of 20th Century Fox though she was no longer really working there.

Anyway, Zanuck tried to get her back by offering her the lead in STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER (which went to Ruth Hussey and became a non-singing part). I think she would have been fantastic in that film. But she was very stubborn and would not forgive Zanuck for cutting a song she did for FALLEN ANGEL. The reason she eventually came back to Fox in 1962 to give them the film she still owed them (STATE FAIR) was because Zanuck had been temporarily ousted and she didn't have to deal with him.

I believe there was more to her issue with Zanuck and quiting Fox than Zanuck cutting one song. She felt Fallen Angel was being "thrown" toward Linda Darnell, and I suspect there was something more.  I haven't read any biographies of Faye, so I'm not well informed.  But either in something I read or a documentary I saw many years ago, it was said she strongly refused to ever talk about what went on with Zanuck.  I suspect that either he strongly insulted her or tried to do something sexual.  Not a fact, but just my hunch.

As for Zanuck being "ousted", this is not accurate.  He voluntarily stepped down from running the studio in 1956.  He came back in 1962 or 3 when the studio was bankrupt and likely to go out of business.

 

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3 hours ago, AndrewSchone said:

I believe there was more to her issue with Zanuck and quiting Fox than Zanuck cutting one song. She felt Fallen Angel was being "thrown" toward Linda Darnell, and I suspect there was something more.  I haven't read any biographies of Faye, so I'm not well informed.  But either in something I read or a documentary I saw many years ago, it was said she strongly refused to ever talk about what went on with Zanuck.  I suspect that either he strongly insulted her or tried to do something sexual.  Not a fact, but just my hunch.

As for Zanuck being "ousted", this is not accurate.  He voluntarily stepped down from running the studio in 1956.  He came back in 1962 or 3 when the studio was bankrupt and likely to go out of business.

Thanks for the clarification about Zanuck's stepping down. You're right about that, he went off to independently produce in Europe and it was his decision. However I believe he might have been ousted the second time, in the late 60s or early 70s I think. 

As for Faye's exit, I think we should be careful about throwing her in with the MeToo movement. Before her marriage to Phil Harris, she might have willingly had sex with Zanuck for all we know, many of the Fox starlets did; Zanuck was quite the charmer/womanizer. Or she might have been one of the few who didn't. We really have no way of verifying her personal relationship with Zanuck.

Cutting the song from FALLEN ANGEL was what really upset her, because it was proof to her that the picture was being used as a Darnell vehicle. The music was one area where Faye obviously excelled. And where Darnell (or anyone else in the cast) couldn't really compete with her. Also she often used her movies to introduce songs that netted her a fortune because her versions were bought in record stores and played on radio stations.

Losing that song in the movie was a loss of a great deal of money. I think she still released it, but it lacked exposure which would have come if it had remained in the final version of the film. But I actually think the song was cut because Preminger felt it worked against the darker aspects of the story which he wanted to preserve. She was a little bit miscast in a noir but of course Fox was trying to find other ways to use her in movies. If they'd just kept her in musicals, she could have gone on as long as Betty Grable did at the studio, another ten years easy.

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