Chicago Film Society
screening at Northeastern Illinois University
3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave, Bldg. E, Chicago IL 60625.
November 29, 2017 7:30pm
IT’S GREAT TO BE ALIVE
Directed by Alfred Werker • 1933 69 min. FOX
A musical remake of "The Last Man on Earth" produced during the lascivious pre-Code era, "It’s Great To Be Alive" hardly stints on the racy implications of its premise. Brazilian crooner Raul Roulien stars as the last surviving XY specimen, a dashing aviator who accidentally missed the masculinitis epidemic by pouting the years away on a remote island after being teased once too often by gal pal Gloria Stuart. And his discovery couldn’t come at a better time—Edna May Oliver’s efforts to create a Synthetic Man in her laboratory have run aground. After treating Roulien to a ticker-tape parade, the women of the world compete for his affections through a dance showcase. Cuba, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands—show us what you’ve got! One of a seemingly endless roster of neglected Fox musicals, "It’s Great To Be Alive" features a handful of numbers from forgotten composer William Kernell, including “I’ll Build a Nest” and “Good Bye, Ladies.” Fox had hoped to build up Roulien as a major star, but alas, his third-billed role in RKO’s "Flying Down to Rio" later that year hardly helped; his planned breakthrough was overshadowed by fourth- and fifth-billed Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Though his career in movies proved too short, Roulien himself never fell victim to masculinitis: he lived to be 94! Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation. -35mm from the Museum of Modern Art with permission of Criterion Pictures. $5
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