Alex Film Society presents
There's No Business like Show Business
Review by Ross Anthony

I enter the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California at 2pm on the dot. I stand in the back to breathe in the glorious nostalgia, the clean white walls and proud stage of this cozy little venue over three-quarters of a century old. Before my curiosity is fulfilled, the lights dim, curtains draw and a Mickey Mouse reel rolls in standard frame color 35mm. What a beautiful print. Why did they ever stop running Mickey before a presentation? Whatever mood you're in, he can only improve it. Pop, snap and chuckle, Mickey and friends wind up their silly pre-show performance. Curtains, lights up, Alex Film Club members welcome us and remind us of the splendid display of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia in the hall. Their comments are brief, the curtains open, lights dim again and bam, "No Biz like Show Biz" (now nearly 50 years old) starts right in with full set Vaudeville singing and dancing. This restored print looks absolutely brilliant. The colors are unlike any 50's film I've seen. The focus sharp, scratchless, hairless, with only a one or two sound pops -- the image is magnificent, the dancers smiling and the mood fun light and happy. The film brings back memories, I never even had!

This article is not meant to be a review of the movie, but I must say (and I know I'm going to ruffle a great deal of feathers) but Marilyn's acting abilities are less than stellar. She's got great presence, and if she sang those songs, a wonderful voice, but every time she spoke ... yikes. Some boast her as the gem of this production ... really? Mitzi Gaynor has it all over her! But while the film did wane as it went on, the entire experience was simply splendid -- I recommend it highly, even if you're not a classic film aficionado. You may have missed this one, but The Alex Film society has other tantalizingly fun and nostalgic events lined up. Check out their website at:

  • There's No Business like Show Business. Copyright © 1954.
  • Starring Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey, Donald O'Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, Johnnie Ray, Marilyn Monroe.
  • Directed by Walter Lang.
  • Screenplay by Lamar Trotti.
  • Produced by Sol C. Siegel at 20th Century Fox.

Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:02:12 PDT