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 <email@example.com>
Bob Thomas' Hollywood Beat column reported the following about the Crosby-Sinatra duet:
The scene was a rehearsal hall, bare except for a few pieces of furniture representing a drawing room set. Also a piano, besides which sat Bing, dressed conservatively in dark trousers and a plain blue sport shirt. He wore a hat and was singing to the piano accompaniment.
Seated nearby was Sinatra, looking natty in grey flannel trousers, black coat and matching accessories. He also wore a hat. Like Bing, he is balding.
"This is a real thrill for me," said Frank. "Bing was a real idol when I was a kid. I had his records and pictures - the whole works.
"We've made about 40 or 50 appearances together, mostly during the war on radio programs and camp shows. We always wanted a picture together but never had the story property until now."
Director Chuck Walters signaled for a rehearsal. Bing and Frank took their places in the simulated Porter number, "Well, Did You Evah?" It is their only number together in the film, and they are supposed to be slightly tipsy at a party.
They sang the number and followed a dance routine outlined by Walters, clicking champagne glasses and walking out of the scene arm in arm. After a few run-throughs, they sat down again to wait for the call to report to the recording stage.
Finally the word came that the orchestra was ready. Bing ambled outside to his bicycle and pedaled toward Stage 1. Frank walked with a business associate.
The 50-piece orchestra was waiting on the recording stage. Bing and Frank ascended a small platform before the musicians and took their cues from conductor Johnny Green. Bing sang sitting down and hatless; Frank kept his hat on and stood. They seemed to enjoy the session, which continued for an hour. ("Generation's Most Famous Singers Together in Film," The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Wednesday 25 January 1956, Volume LXII, Number 126, page 3.) See more »
After Tracy introduces George to Mike and Liz, George pours drinks for everybody. From one shot to another, Dexter-Haven's drink appears in his hand without his picking it up. Mike picks up his drink twice. Margaret's drink also appears in her hand without her picking it up. See more »
[after singing the opening song with his band]
End of song, beginning of story.
See more »
Something wrong happened as MGM tried to update the much more original "The Philadelphia Story". Some of the blame should go to the uninspired direction of Walter Charles, who can't overcome what the great George Cukor achieved in the original movie version. Part of the blame is shared with John Patrick's screen play that might have been based on the Philip Barry play, but what one sees on the screen is a dull attempt of movie making. Donald Ogden Stewart, who adapted the original play gave that film a light and fun touch, which in Mr. Cukor's hands and brilliant direction came alive throughout the picture.
It's not fair to make comparisons, but unfortunately, the creators of "High Society" leave themselves wide open for it. Right off the start, these stars can't compare with the magnificent performances by Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart, Ruth Hussey and the irresistible Virginia Weidler.
Grace Kelly was an elegant actress who as Tracy Lord gives the role another interpretation but doesn't capture the spirit of the no-nonsense socialite she is supposed to be. Bing Crosby, as Dexter, has some good moments, especially in the "True Love" segment in the yacht with Tracy. Frank Sinatra's Mike Connors is all right, although we can't just imagine how he can be in love with Liz Imbrie. Celeste Holm who appears as Liz gave a tamed reading of her character.
The best thing in the film is the prologue and the finale with the incomparable Louis Armstrong, whose presence would have been used to put some sparkle in this subdued version of Philip Barry's wonderful play.
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