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C.K. Dexter-Haven, a successful popular jazz musician, lives in a mansion near his ex-wife's Tracy Lord's family estate. She is on the verge of marrying a man blander and safer than Dex, who tries to win Tracy's heart again. Mike Connor, an undercover tabloid reporter, also falls for Tracy while covering the nuptials for Spy magazine. Tracy must choose between the three men as she discovers that "safe" can mean "deadly dull" when it comes to husbands and life. Written by
James Meek <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When George takes Tracy, who's obviously had too much to drink, into the blue walled room during the party to lie down on the couch, before she gets there, a boom mic is visible at the top of the screen. See more »
This second rendition of the exuberant play by John Barry, while inferior to Cukor's 1940 version, remains a delightful farce on the upper class thanks to the witty, sparkling script from the play by John Barry.
The cast is commendable albeit not spectacular given , showcasing the drollery of the script. Grace Kelly (in her last complete screen performance) surprises us with her comedic talents helped along by the script; Crosby slips into the comfortable role of the guy-next-door that is all too familiar with his screen person. Sinatra (showing some of his age) sings adequately, but seems a little distant and lacks the edge, danger and sexiness of his 1940 counterpart.
I might only add that the 3 principals seemed to lack that spark which validated their freewheeling around L.A singing songs about making love. On screen I did not feel they were as youthful and vibrant as seen in some of their earlier films.
The direction by Charles Walters - an accomplished director of film musicals including Gigi, Ziegfeld Follies, and Annie get your Gun - supports the cast very well with various long shots of the mansion and sunny California. He is splendidly able to infuse the house with it's sparkling jewels and ornaments with a sense of grandeur, merriment and delight so that it fully inhabits the characters and their kingdom.
The scene-stealer each time is Louis Armstrong and his band. While his interludes are not his best pieces to showcase, the music is pleasant, dreamy and fun. What else would you expect from this rollicking comedy? And how can you not love Armstrong? He was so adorable!
It was interesting to note the audience's reaction to this film. Musicals are one of my favourite genres - I love them for the swooning and swinging numbers - however the audience did not appreciate it so much. There were even groans and boos (which I found disrespectful - you must know it's a musical!) when Sinatra and Kelly burst into dreamy love duets. I have to admit though that the transition of the songs in the film was not altogether seamless (even choppy at times). At times it seemed like a selling point for the producers to capitalise on the musical craze sweeping the country during that period in Hollywood (See Kelly and Sinatra sing!); add name dropping, and songs & lyrics that misrepresent Cole Porter's skill and wit as a composer.
This is a fun film however deeply overshadowed by the original 1940 version and lacking Cuckor's razor-sharp screwball slapstick. The pace is also slower however it probably compensates for delighting us with the elegant sets and musical interludes.
I was also fortunate to see this film with audience and definitely relished hearing the viewers chortle along to the absurd story and zany characters. It was impossible not to join in the belly-laughs in this dreamy ride.
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