Alice Faye’s gradual rise to the upper echelon of box-office stars took a major leap forward in 1937 by her appearing in five movies, all of them successes and all of them trading on the softening of her image from a hard-bitten chorus girl in her early films to a more girl next door, apple-cheeked singer whose warm voice and lovable, open-hearted personality was a strong lure for the many top male stars who had begun to appear in her orbit. In You Can’t Have Everything, the third of her five 1937 films, she’s top-billed above the co-star with whom she was destined to make quite a few future pictures: Don Ameche in a backstage show-biz musical that gives her ample opportunities to shine.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 480I/MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English 2.0 DD
Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 1 Hr. 39 Min.
Package Includes: DVDAmray case
Disc Type: DVD-R
Release Date: 12/03/2013
Judith Poe Wells (Alice Faye) is a struggling playwright determined to write serious dramas instead of the simpering musical comedies being churned out by George Macrae (Don Ameche). Macrae meets Judith in a restaurant where she’s eaten an enormous dinner she can’t pay for and is charmed by her warm personality and ample singing talent (which she refuses to use as a way into show business). He arranges to have her latest dreadful play optioned by his producer Sam Gordon (Charles Winninger) as a ruse to get her into the theater so she can replace a recalcitrant leading lady (Phyllis Brooks) whom everyone detests. Judith and George begin to fall in love as they work together, but that doesn’t sit well with George’s long-time girl friend Lulu (Gypsy Rose Lee acting under her real name Louise Hovick) who’s determined to put a stop to this growing romance.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
The Harry Tugend-Jack Yellen-Karl Tunberg screenplay is typical fluff of its era (they don’t seem to consider how bad Judith ends up looking walking out on the show hours before opening night just because she’s heartbroken; it closes the show and puts dozens of people out of work just because she’s disappointed in her love life), and they twist and turn things so that everyone ends up with a happy ending even if, as with the grasping and conniving Lulu, they don’t deserve one (though she ends up with Harry Ritz; maybe she DOES deserve him). The show biz saga allows for a great deal of music, dance, and comedy, all of it wonderfully performed. Alice gets three solos: the toe-tapping title tune (how did it not score an Oscar nomination that year?), “Please Pardon Us – We’re in Love,” and the most entertaining “Danger – Love at Work” sung and performed with Louis Prima and his band. Don Ameche gets only a couple of late choruses of “Afraid to Dream,” possibly the least of the score’s songs, and Darryl F. Zanuck favorites the Ritz Brothers get “Long Underwear” (just exactly what you expect it to be with that title) and their own version of Alice’s “Danger – Love at Work.” Alice’s real-life husband Tony Martin appears as the show’s leading man singing “The Loveliness of You” in a piercingly high tenor. A couple of specialty acts also get a moment in the limelight: radio star Rubinoff does a number with his famous fiddle, and the less than spectacular finale brings out Tip, Tap, and Toe who do a slap happy tap number, the kind of the thing the Nicholas Brothers would claim mastery of a few years later at Fox.
Alice Faye is chipper and winning even with the script’s lapses in developing her character, and Don Ameche makes a more than acceptable leading man for her. As always, the Ritz Brothers overstay their welcome (if only their shtick were more variable; yes, they end up in drag again, this time as charwomen), and Charles Winninger has fewer opportunities to shine than in some of his other film appearances especially at MGM. It’s always great to see Arthur Treacher do his butler thing, and Clara Blandick has a showy scene in which she dresses down poor Judith when she returns home after leaving New York. Gypsy Rose Lee/Louise Hovick is a problem as Lulu. Her line readings are a bit affected, and she lacks presence and noticeable chic in attempting to play an ultra chic character. One can see why she didn’t have a very distinguished career as a film actress.
The film’s original 4:3 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully reproduced in this made-on-demand disc. Though there has been no clean up of the master used and there are dust specks, debris, damage, and reel change markers throughout, the film still does look more than acceptable. Sharpness is quite good, and the grayscale, while not possessing the deepest black levels possible, certainly isn’t bad, and contrast has been consistently applied. The film has been divided into chapters every ten minutes so there are 10 chapters here.
Video Rating: 3/5 3D Rating: NA
As with almost all of the Fox Cinema Archive releases, the volume level is way too high for enjoyment without distortion so one needs to attend to volume levels before playing the disc. The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound mix seems to be one of Fox’s attempts to produce a stereo track by taking different directional audio stems produced during recording and mixing them. It isn’t half bad actually with voices mostly in the center channel (with some obvious spill into the other channels) and the accompaniment filling the front channels. As the film runs, there is an increase in noise on the track with some hiss, pops, and noticeable crackle in quieter moments of the film. Sound is sometimes shrill, and there’s a definite lack in the lower end of the sound spectrum, but the singing still comes across rather splendidly.
Audio Rating: 2.5/5
There are no bonus features on this made-on-demand disc.
Special Features Rating: 0/5
Alice Faye fans will be happy to add this disc of You Can’t Have Everything to their collections of entertaining musicals the star made on her rise to the apex of Fox’s top-tiered roster. While some of her more famous musicals of the 1930s have received much better handling on DVD than this release, at least it’s now available.
Overall Rating: 3/5
Reviewed By: Matt Hough
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