- SKU: 16923858
- Release Date: 10/07/2008
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- Closed Captioned
On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of commercial radio, 20th Century-Fox cooked up the pageantlike entertainment The Great American Broadcast. Opening with clips of such airwaves favorites as Dick Powell and Fred Allen (courtesy of earlier Fox films like Thanks a Million), the picture gets under way in 1918, as ambitious army buddies Bix Martin (John Payne) and Chuck Hadley (Jack Oakie) try and fail to establish themselves in the business world. At long last, our heroes enter the new field of radio broadcasting, where after several technical and tactical mishaps they achieve success. But Bix and Chuck are strictly small-timers, and soon they're left behind by the big-city stations. The partners break up, while Bix's songstress wife Vicki Adams (Alice Faye) seeks out a loan to get her husband back on his financial feet. When she approaches her wealthy ex-boyfriend Bruce Chadwick (Cesar Romero), Bix burns up and walks out on her. But old pal Chuck comes to the rescue, staging a reunion between Bix and Vicki during the first-ever coast to coast network broadcast. Rather shaky as history, The Great American Broadcast works best on a nostalgia level, offering guest appearances by such specialty performers as The Ink Spots, The Nicholas Brothers, and The Wiere Brothers (of Road to Rio fame). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Hollywood Cavalcade was a fictionalized history of silent films and the growth of the movie industry. Don Ameche portrays a character based on equal portions of Mack Sennett and D. W. Griffith, while Alice Faye's silent star is an amalgam of Mabel Normand and Gloria Swanson. Ameche breaks into pictures with slapstick comedies, initiating the first "pie throwing" scene, with Buster Keaton the thrower and Alice Faye the throw-ee. Thanks to Ameche, Faye becomes a major comedy star, appearing in wild Keystone Kops chase comedies. But success goes to Ameche's head, and soon he's staging elaborate Intolerance-like historical spectacles. As Ameche's artistic aspirations climb, his relationship with the faithful Alice deteriorates. She finds solace with her young leading man (Alan Curtis) and becomes a top dramatic star. Having made and lost several fortunes, Ameche talks Alice into appearing in his "comeback" picture, but shortly before filming ends, she and her husband are in a serious auto accident. The husband is killed, and as Faye recuperates, Ameche agonizes over how he'll save his uncompleted masterpiece. He witnesses the premiere of Al Jolson's part-talking The Jazz Singer and decides to risk everything by scrapping his film and remaking it as a talkie. Faye, who's never really stopped loving Ameche, agrees to star in this new project. On a level of accuracy, Hollywood Cavalcade is for the birds, but it scores on its energetic performances and nostalgic appeal. As a bonus, several past movie greats appear in cameos: Al Jolson, Buster Keaton, Mack Sennett, Ben Turpin, Chester Conklin, Jimmy Finlayson, Hank Mann and even Rin Tin Tin Jr. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Rose of Washington Square
This barely-disguised portrait of singer Fanny Brice led to Brice's lawsuit against 20th Century Fox for defamation of character, a case which was settled out of court. Alice Faye plays Rose Sargent, a New York singer of the 1920s who falls for handsome, cocky wheeler-dealer Bart Clinton (Tyrone Power in a role patterned on Brice's troubled real-life paramour Nicky Arnstein). Rose's new romance is much to the dismay of her pal and former partner Ted Cotter (Al Jolson), who doesn't trust the slick, smooth-talking Bart. Eventually, Rose and Bart marry, but as the entertainment careers of Rose and Ted take off, Bart's tendency to get over his head in get-rich-quick schemes evolves into a bona fide criminal career. Rose finally makes the big time, becoming a popular star with the Ziegfeld Follies, and Bart skips town in order to preserve her reputation. However, Bart is nabbed by the authorities and sentenced to five years in jail. Despite the public scandal, Rose and Bart's devotion remained undiminished. Songs include the classics "California, Here I Come", "Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye", "I'm Just Wild About Harry" and the perhaps unwise inclusion of "Funny Lady" Brice's signature song, "My Man". ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
Four Jills in a Jeep
Four Jills in a Jeep is the (mostly) true story of a four-girl USO team, entertaining American troops overseas. Kay Francis, Martha Raye, Carole Landis and Mitzi Mayfair play "themselves," recreating their recent whirlwind tour of Europe and North Africa. This wisp of a plot takes a back seat to the musical numbers performed by the four stars, by Dick Haymes in his screen debut as a singing GI, and by guest stars Alice Faye, Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda. Phil Silvers, George Jessel, and Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra also pop up to do their usual. Very much a time capsule of the War years, Four Jills in a Jeep was later adapted into a best-selling book, ostensibly written by costar Carole Landis. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Hello, Frisco, Hello
Though a lesser 20th Century-Fox musical, Hello, Frisco, Hello was one of the studio's most successful wartime efforts. John Payne plays Johnny Cornell, a sharp wheeler-dealer operating on the Barbary Coast at the turn of the century. With the help of his songstress girlfriend Trudy Evans (Alice Faye), Johnny gains a reputation as a first-class showman. Soon, however, success goes to Johnny's head, and he deserts Trudy in favor of Nob Hill socialite Bernice Croft (Lynn Bari). The disheartened Trudy heads to England, where she becomes the toast of London's theatrical set. Meanwhile, Johnny marries Bernice, who talks him into a series of money-losing "artistic" theatrical ventures. Learning of the reversal in Johnny's fortunes, Trudy secretly finances his comeback, leading to a happy ending for everyone except the pretentious Bernice. A loose reworking of 1936's King of Burlesque, Hello, Frisco Hello benefits from the comedy relief of Jack Oakie and from a string of enjoyable tunes, including the Oscar-winning "You'll Never Know." ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Alice Faye - Vicki Adams
- Jack Oakie - Chuck Hadley
- John Payne - Rix Martin
- Cesar Romero - Bruce Chadwick
- James Newill - Jimmy