Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

"High Society"


edonline
 Share

Recommended Posts

Currently showing on TCM as part of their Frank Sinatra day for Summer Under The Stars. As much as I love "The Philadelphia Story", and probably because of that, I can never find myself enjoying the musical version of the same story. A lot of the problem is the cast -- I like Frank Sinatra in many of his movie roles and I also like him as a singer but he seems wrong in this movie, as if his character is made to be too much out of his element. Even more out of place is Bing Crosby, who doesn't project the right amount of sophistication that Cary Grant did in the original and who has little chemistry with leading lady, Grace Kelly. Speaking of whom, Grace Kelly who plays the upper crust ice queen a bit TOO well and it is also strange to see a non-singing star in the lead surrounded by two of the most well-known singers of the day. One of the saving graces of the movie are the scenes and musical numbers of Louie Armstrong and his orchestra. There are parts of "High Society" which I like, but as a whole, it's one of those movies which never holds my attention all of the way through whenever I sit down to watch it.

 

Any fans (or non fans) of the movie?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=edonline wrote:}{quote}

> Currently showing on TCM as part of their Frank Sinatra day for Summer Under The Stars. As much as I love "The Philadelphia Story", and probably because of that, I can never find myself enjoying the musical version of the same story. A lot of the problem is the cast -- I like Frank Sinatra in many of his movie roles and I also like him as a singer but he seems wrong in this movie, as if his character is made to be too much out of his element. Even more out of place is Bing Crosby, who doesn't project the right amount of sophistication that Cary Grant did in the original and who has little chemistry with leading lady, Grace Kelly. Speaking of whom, Grace Kelly who plays the upper crust ice queen a bit TOO well and it is also strange to see a non-singing star in the lead surrounded by two of the most well-known singers of the day. One of the saving graces of the movie are the scenes and musical numbers of Louie Armstrong and his orchestra. There are parts of "High Society" which I like, but as a whole, it's one of those movies which never holds my attention all of the way through whenever I sit down to watch it.

>

> Any fans (or non fans) of the movie?

 

And SILK STOCKINGS isn't NINOTCHKA, A SONG IS BORN isn't BALL OF FIRE, and A STAR IS BORN (1954) isn't...well, A STAR IS BORN (1937).

 

Apart from the frequent mis-casting and second-rate songs found in such endeavors, translating a straight drama to the musical form exposes it to the same pitfalls inherent in any remake. Add to it that songs generally just re-hash the dramatic points made in the original story, and the end result is an attenuated, bloated version of something that strays too far from the original drama's intent or simplicity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thoughtful interesting comments....

I never warmed to this version either. If anyone ever says Katherine Hepburn or Cary Grant aren't good actors, High Society is a good example for comparison. I think Grace Kelly is a bore and Bing is too old and creepy to be considered suave, imho.

 

I do like Frank a tad better than mumbly James Stewart, in their role, though Stewart is physically more impressive than teeny Frank. But Frank brings a sophisticated confidence to the role.

 

The songs are definitely "add ons" and fairly weak, but I love the line, "...she got pinched in the As-tor bar." Then added, "She was stoned!" ...never fails to crack me up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=TikiSoo wrote:}{quote}

>I think Grace Kelly is a bore and Bing is too old and creepy to be considered suave, imho.

 

Oh, the problem with Bing is that he's throughly unconvincing as a patrician (the hairpiece doesn't help, either, as it paints a picture of a vain middle-aged man aging not at all gracefully). The great genius of Cary Grant is that a former carnival acrobat from a lower-class section of Bristol, England, who convincingly and movingly played a steak-and-kidney-pie Cockney in NONE BUT THE LONELY HEART, could slip so easily into roles of such suave sophisticates as Dexter Haven, John Robie or Roger Thornhill, without audiences so much as batting an eyelash (the young Michael Caine, a real Cockney, played the aristocratic British Army officer, Gonville Bromhead, in the 1964 epic ZULU. Grant could've done it easily, of course, but I can think of no other contemporary actor from the neighborhood of London's "Bow bells" who could've pulled that off).

 

As for Kelly, she was always a bore. Her career was built largely on her looks: she is so staggeringly gorgeous that you tend to forget that she wasn't a very good actress (and there was no way in hell that she deserved that Oscar for the utterly pretentious and overwrought THE COUNTRY GIRL, from the self-important duo of William Perlberg and George Seaton).

 

Compare for a moment Kelly, and another of the screen's legendary beauties, Ingrid Bergman. Apart from the obvious fact that the latter was a wonderful actress (with three well-deserved Oscars to prove it), Bergman was all warmth to Kelly's ice. In the end, you find yourself admiring Kelly for her beauty, if nothing else, whereas you love Bergman, and therein lies the vast difference between the two women.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

> {quote:title=Hudson_Hawk wrote:}{quote}

> Compare for a moment Kelly, and another of the screen's legendary beauties, Ingrid Bergman.

 

I'd rather compare Kelly to Katherine Hepburn who played the same role.

Sure, Kelly is beautiful, but I actually find Hepburn much more attractive. Kelly looks like a statue, Hepburn looks like a woman. Hepburn's less than perfect face gives her a much more appealing quality, the face of a complex personality.

 

And Kate was so convincing as a rich heiress brought up in the lap of luxury, she brought a biting humor to the role, almost making us feel sorry for her. (poor little rich girl syndrome) You can feel Kate's frustration whereas Kelly is simply reading the words.

 

Philadelphia Story is a successful romantic comedy. High Society is a musical with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong.(everything else is forgettable)

 

And let's not forget Virginia Weidler's fun performance as the little sister. Had she not been cast next to titans Grant/Hepburn, she could have stolen every scene she's in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting to read these comments. Although I've seen HIGH SOCIETY, it took me three or four viewings to finally see the whole thing. It never held my interest long enough for one sitting. I tried to sit down and watch the whole thing in one gulp the other day and couldn't do it. Something about it is just...dour, to me. That said, I do love the tunes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is proof-positive that my tastes run counter to pretty much everyone else, here. I completely ADORE *High Society*, and prefer it, in every way, to *The Philadelphia Story*. It is my favorite Cole Porter score, and one of only about three or four MGM musicals that I truly love as a whole, rather than just liking a number or two. One of my favorite casts in motion pictures, ever!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I'm a big Crosby fan, if a musical remake of "The Philadelphia Story" HAD to be made, I would have liked to have seen Fred Astaire play Dexter Haven. Sure, he would have been long in the tooth for the role, but he would have had his special brand of sophistication, and he could have handled those verbal sparring scenes with his ex-wife beautifully.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...