What's new

Alice Faye: The Lady with the Velvet Voice (1 Viewer)

Emcee

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
607
Real Name
Belflower
Music composers thought of her as the "best song-plugger in the business" during her prime. She was a star for 20th Century-Fox in the 1930s and 1940s, starring in a host of critically and commercially successful films. She might be best remembered as the star of Technicolor WWII-era musicals, where exotic locales were the backdrop to light romances that showcased her husky singing voice and made good use of her comedic timing. Her rendition of the song "You'll Never Know" from the musical Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943) won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

But, at the height of her fame, Alice Faye walked away from Hollywood after seeing the final cut of her film Fallen Angel (1945). Faye was outraged that Darryl F. Zanuck had cut out many of her scenes so that her co-star, Linda Darnell, could be emphasized. Faye packed up her dressing room, turned in her keys, and drove off the lot, vowing never to return. During her absence from the silver screen, she spent her time raising her two children, and co-hosting a radio comedy series with her bandleader husband Phil Harris. Many attempts were sent out to get her to return to the screen during her semi-retirement, but it would be 17 years before she returned in a remake of State Fair (1962). She made few films thereafter, pointing to the drastic change in the process as her primary reason to stay away.

Any fans of this talented woman?


1663854615497.png
 

Matt Hough

Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
26,185
Location
Charlotte, NC
Real Name
Matt Hough
My first exposure to Alice Faye was on television in the film You're a Sweetheart, a Universal musical she was loaned out from Fox to make during one of the years when she was among the top ten box-office stars. I had never heard of her or had ever seen her in anything else. I asked my mom who she was, and she just fell over: Alice was her favorite star and she was shocked I even knew who she was. Then I started noticing her appearing in lots of movies on TV: her two Shirley Temple films and especially In Old Chicago which I thought was simply grand. Even after all these years, I still haven't seen every film she made, but I keep looking for them and I certainly enjoy the ones she made that I have on DVD and Blu-ray.
 

Bert Greene

Screenwriter
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Messages
1,060
Absolutely a fan. Alice Faye is a peach. I'm probably more fond of her 1930s movies, even though they can be an uneven lot. I have a particular affection for "Sally, Irene and Mary" (1938). I must also have about ten of those Radio Spirits cd-collections of "The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show." Very funny old radio series.

The only 1930s Faye film I'm not fond of is "Now I'll Tell" (1934), in which she has a relatively smallish role, as a mistress to big-time gambler Spencer Tracy. One of those films in which we're supposed to like the flawed, rogue-ish main character, but I just found him an annoying jerk, sinking my interest in the film.
 

Emcee

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
607
Real Name
Belflower
Alice Faye first came to my attention because of Betty Grable and Betty Grable came to my attention because of Marilyn Monroe. I watched How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) many moons ago because of Monroe. I did some digging on Monroe's co-stars and learned that Grable was Fox's biggest moneymaker of the 1940s outside of having the biggest-selling pin-up picture of WWII. This, in turn, led me to learning that Grable got her first big break at Fox replacing a sick Alice Faye in Down Argentine Way (1940), and then I started doing some digging on Alice Faye.

And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

I must admit, I was slightly indifferent to Alice Faye when I first became aware of her. I preferred Betty Grable and June Haver in their cozy Fox musical romances. But my tastes have shifted in recent years. Of the three, I'd say Faye was the best actress, Grable the biggest star, and Haver the reliable back-up.

But this thread is dedicated to the talented Alice Faye.

Wasn't she beautiful?

1663941633529.png
 

Richard M S

Screenwriter
Joined
Mar 2, 2005
Messages
1,051
I do wonder what kind of a film career Alice Faye would have had if she didn't leave Fox in a huff. Zanuck would have still focused on Linda Darnell, June Haver, Mitzi Gaynor, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters, etc. There would have been a few more musicals, but if she waited a few years, I suspect she would have had a post-war career more like Jeanette MacDonald's.

When State Fair was being filmed, Frank Sinatra did sign her to his Reprise label for a Neil Hefti-conducted album of her own film songs. I know that this was her way to cash in on songs that her Fox contract prevented her from earning any profits on, but even in 1962 did anyone need a new recording of "And The Band Played On" among other re-recordings? There were so many "modern" songs from Broadway and Hollywood she could have recorded (i.e. Moon River), it seemed like a missed opportunity. In fact she never recorded another album.
 

RobertMG

Premium
Senior HTF Member
Deceased Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Messages
4,671
Real Name
Robert M. Grippo
I do wonder what kind of a film career Alice Faye would have had if she didn't leave Fox in a huff. Zanuck would have still focused on Linda Darnell, June Haver, Mitzi Gaynor, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Peters, etc. There would have been a few more musicals, but if she waited a few years, I suspect she would have had a post-war career more like Jeanette MacDonald's.

When State Fair was being filmed, Frank Sinatra did sign her to his Reprise label for a Neil Hefti-conducted album of her own film songs. I know that this was her way to cash in on songs that her Fox contract prevented her from earning any profits on, but even in 1962 did anyone need a new recording of "And The Band Played On" among other re-recordings? There were so many "modern" songs from Broadway and Hollywood she could have recorded (i.e. Moon River), it seemed like a missed opportunity. In fact she never recorded another album.
One of the best singers ever!
 

Chris55

Agent
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
49
Real Name
chris
I remember reading that Alice Faye adored Fred Astaire , as did Betty Grable, and Alice must have been delighted, on loan-out to Universal, to do a dancing musical , "You're a Sweetheart" (1937), with some great dance numbers with the also terrific dancer , George Murphy. Murphy also did a great dance number with Lana Turner, of all people, in "Two Girls on Broadway" (1940) and I was surprised at how good Lana danced and should have done more dancing in her movies, too.
 

Emcee

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
607
Real Name
Belflower
It's a shame neither Faye nor Grable got to do a movie with Fred Astaire. But the studios back then weren't keen on loaning out their big-name stars, and understandably so.
 

Chris55

Agent
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
49
Real Name
chris
Yes, apparently Tyrone Power was loaned out to MGM for "Marie Antoinette" in 1938 and, because of the rather small tole Power played in the movie, Zanuck never loaned out Tyrone again, while under contract to TCF.
 

Chris55

Agent
Joined
Nov 18, 2019
Messages
49
Real Name
chris
One of the best singers ever!
I don't think that Alice was all that ambitious and was quite happy to be at home with her family, apart from her radio series , which was also a family show anyway, with Phil Harris. Apparently she was the only Fox star that didn't put up with Zanuck's temper and gave as good as she got from him. Probably she was glad to walk away from the studio eventually. As regards the record, I think she just recorded it as a retrospective of her former Star career and probably mostly for her own pleasure, which is a blessing for us. Before Zanuck stopped letting his Stars make records, Alice did do some commercial recordings from 1934 to 1937, all of which are great recordings from her early career. And we do also have the Rudy Vallee radio recordings, featuring Alice, from the early 1930s , too.
 

Emcee

Supporting Actor
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
607
Real Name
Belflower
I don't think that Alice was all that ambitious and was quite happy to be at home with her family, apart from her radio series , which was also a family show anyway, with Phil Harris. Apparently she was the only Fox star that didn't put up with Zanuck's temper and gave as good as she got from him. Probably she was glad to walk away from the studio eventually. As regards the record, I think she just recorded it as a retrospective of her former Star career and probably mostly for her own pleasure, which is a blessing for us. Before Zanuck stopped letting his Stars make records, Alice did do some commercial recordings from 1934 to 1937, all of which are great recordings from her early career. And we do also have the Rudy Vallee radio recordings, featuring Alice, from the early 1930s , too.
Quite true.

Faye was once quoted as saying (and I'm paraphrasing) that she didn't mind being home and not making movies. She enjoyed watching after her kids, learning how to cook, clean, keep house, and buy groceries. She expressed joy in how much she had to fulfill her time. I'm sure she also quite at ease performing with her husband, bandleader Phil Harris, on radio. The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show was successful for many years. It's a wonder none of the early TV networks didn't want to adapt the series for TV, but I doubt Harris or Faye would've done it anyway.

Alice wasn't keen on taking too much junk from Fox or Darry F. Zanuck. I believe she respected him as her boss and the fact that he redirected her career in the mid-1930s, but she didn't feel the need to be his doormat. She pushed for more serious roles outside of musicals (which was the exact opposite of what Betty Grable did) and ended up turning in some fine performances in movies like In Old Chicago and Tail Spin. She even got to play stronger roles in heavier musicals, such as the biopic Lillian Russell.

Faye showed no animosity towards Betty Grable or June Haver, both women Fox used in similar movies in the 1940s. Faye was enthusiastic when she was finally given the opportunity to choose her own material starting in 1943. She had wanted to play Aunt Sissy in Fox's film version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, but her pregnancy and subsequent hospitalization rendered her enable to accept, leaving the role for Joan Blondell. She also had to withdraw herself from The Dolly Sisters, which was Fox's attempt to repair Faye and Grable; Grable ended up with Faye's role, and June Haver got Grable's original part (or maybe that was the other way around).

Fallen Angel was apparently a movie Alice showed great interest in. She had personally chosen it as a part of her new deal with Fox in 1945. When she saw the finished product, however, she was appalled that Zanuck had sliced the majority of her scenes to emphasize Linda Darnell instead. She was so furious, she vowed never to return to the studio, and she didn't for close to two decades.

So, yeah, she didn't take Zanuck's mess. She had her own ideas.

1664979162575.png
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Sign up for our newsletter

and receive essential news, curated deals, and much more







You will only receive emails from us. We will never sell or distribute your email address to third party companies at any time.

Latest posts

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Threads
356,994
Messages
5,127,972
Members
144,226
Latest member
maanw2357
Recent bookmarks
0
Top