Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Miss Alice Faye


We're quite excited about the upcoming release of The Alice Faye Collection Vol. 2 on DVD; we've become quite enamored of this lovely lady and her liquid gold voice. She began her movie career as a sort of Jean Harlow knockoff, complete with platinum hair, plucked eyebrows and satin on the bias.

But by the time her stardom really began ascending with In Old Chicago (1937) and Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), Faye's appearance had become considerably more refined. Hers was a mature, womanly appeal, in contrast to the more cheerful, girl-next-door image of her contemporary and rival at 20th Century Fox, Betty Grable.

Faye alternated between lavish "prestige" films like Lillian Russell (1940) and the splashy, almost-nonsensical musicals that Fox was famous for in the 1940's; the ultimate of these must be the almost surreal The Gang's All Here (1943), a Busby Berkeley-directed smorgasborg of camp, featuring Faye, Carmen Miranda, the barest whisper of a plot, and lots of very phallic bananas.


After nearly a decade as a major star, Faye walked out on her Fox contract when she realized that her leading role in Fallen Angel (1945) had been minimized by studio head Darryl Zanuck, in order to build up Linda Darnell's supporting role. Blackballed from the film industry by Zanuck, Faye didn't make another film until 1962; apparently letting bygones be bygones, she returned to Fox, for the remake of State Fair.

Unfortunately, although she received positive personal notices, the film was a commercial and critical failure, and didn't lead to any further films for Faye. She kept more than busy, however, with projects including a revival of Good News on Broadway, with her former Fox leading man John Payne; and becoming spokesperson for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, promoting active senior lifestyles.

The lovely Miss Alice Faye passed away on May 9, 1998, just days after her 83rd birthday.

MISS ALICE FAYE (May 5, 1915 - May 9, 1998)

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