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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Lillian Russell" (1940)

Alice Faye does a commendable job in this engaging biopic of the famous chanteuse. While it's a glossy sanitized version of her life, you get a lot of sumptuous Old New York period detail and Alice, bejeweled head to toe in Travis Banton gowns, singing all those pre-1900 songs like "And the Band Played On" and "After the Ball". A subdued but charming Henry Fonda is the love interest (did anyone ever do 'earnest' better?) and Edward Arnold does a gregarious Diamond Jim Brady, Russell's fatcat suitor.

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