January 2000 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

20th Century Fox Classic Musicals Series: Rose of Washington Square OST   Songs performed by Al Jolson and Alice Faye VARÈSE SARABANDE VSD-6089 [54:03]

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Rose of Washington Square (1939) starred Alice Faye, Tyrone Power, Al Jolson, and Louis Prima and his Band. This was the film that provoked Fanny Brice to sue 20th Century Fox for $75,000 for invasion of privacy (the defendants settled out of court). On the surface the story is about the tribulations of a Broadway singer in love with a worthless husband. As Halliwell states, it appeared to be a "revamping of the Fanny Brice story; smartly done, but the material interpolated for Al Jolson is what makes the film notable."

Rose of Washington Square was the third and final teaming of Tyrone Power and Alice Faye. In 1938 they had starred together in Fox’s In Old Chicago, which had the Great Fire as its spectacular climax; then they were teamed again in another spectacular and memorable musical, Alexander’s Ragtime Band that carried over 20 Irving Berlin numbers.

The music on this CD, beautifully refurbished, is absolutely marvellous. Wonderful song follows wonderful song – a veritable treasure chest of marvellous melodies from the era between the World Wars – and earlier. They include:-

Pretty Baby’ performed by Al Jolson.
I’m Sorry I Made You Cry’ sung by Alice Fay
I’ll See You in My Dreams’ – Alice Faye
The Vamp’ – Alice Faye and Chorus
I’m Always Chasing Rainbows’ – Alice Faye (an out-take this one)
Rock-a-bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody’ – Al Jolson
Toot Toot Tootsie’ – Al Jolson
I’m Just Wild About Harry’ – Alice Faye
California, Here I Come’ – Al Jolson
I Never Knew Heaven Could Speak’ – Alice Faye
My Mammy’ – Al Jolson
April Showers’ and Avalon – Al Jolson
My Man’ – Alice Faye
Rose of Washington Square’ – Alice Faye and Chorus in an extended 8-minute track with a significant orchestral element.

As if all that was not enough, there are eight bonus tracks: alternative versions of six of the songs (two versions of ‘My Man’). The interesting thing is that you hear the voices of the recording technicians and the producer at the beginning and ending of these tracks.

A fabulous nostalgic trip


Ian Lace


Ian Lace

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