6.7/10
348
18 user 6 critic

Lillian Russell (1940)

Life story of the musical star from her discovery in 1890 by band leader Tony Pastor till her retirement in 1912 when she married newspaperman Alexander Moore.

Director:

Irving Cummings

Writer:

William Anthony McGuire (screen play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alice Faye ... Lillian Russell
Don Ameche ... Edward Solomon
Henry Fonda ... Alexander Moore
Edward Arnold ... Diamond Jim Brady
Warren William ... The Famous J.L.
Leo Carrillo ... Tony Pastor
Helen Westley ... Grandma Leonard
Dorothy Peterson ... Cynthia Leonard
Ernest Truex ... Charles K. Leonard
Nigel Bruce ... William Gilbert
Lynn Bari ... Edna McCauley
Claud Allister ... Arthur Sullivan (as Claude Allister)
Joe Weber Joe Weber ... Himself (as Weber)
Lew Fields ... Himself (as Fields)
Eddie Foy Jr. ... Eddie Foy Sr.
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Storyline

Life story of the musical star from her discovery in 1890 by band leader Tony Pastor till her retirement in 1912 when she married newspaperman Alexander Moore.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 May 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Bela Lillian Russell See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Barbara, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the huge success of The Great Ziegfeld (1936) MGM wanted to make a movie about Lillian Russell starring Jeanette MacDonald, but that project fell through. Twentieth Century-Fox then decided to make a movie about Russell. See more »

Connections

Featured in The American Film Institute Salute to Henry Fonda (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz Is King
(1940) (uncredited)
Music Charles Henderson
Lyrics by Mack Gordon
Production number performed by chorus in the finale
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dull biography only perks up when Alice Faye sings...
18 September 2006 | by DoylenfSee all my reviews

I don't know how much this fictionalized bio of Lillian Russell owes to the truth, but the truth is she led an awfully dull life to judge by the weak script developments. Yes, even for a gal who mingled with Diamond Jim Brady and married a well-known composer, she's awfully dull stuff to take, which is why so much footage was cut out of the final print.

Needless to say, when ALICE FAYE, costumed effectively in all those turn-of-the-century clothes and singing old-time songs in that breathy low-pitched voice of hers, gets to strut her stuff the story warms up a bit. But most of it is just so dull you want to fast forward and skip the bio completely.

No help is HENRY FONDA as a newspaper man who patiently waits his turn to have his fling with romancing the musical comedy star. And even the reliable DON AMECHE is at sea here. Not their fault. The script is the problem and it shows until the bitter end. EDWARD ARNOLD, in a comfortable role as Diamond Jim Brady, is the only bright spot in the supporting cast. HELEN WESTLEY, WARREN WILLIAM, LEO CARRILLO and NIGEL BRUCE are likewise not seen to advantage.

Maybe Technicolor would have brightened things. Hard to say, but I still think a livelier story and better backstage plot would have helped considerably. As it is, only ALICE FAYE's loyal fans will warm up to this one.


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