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Pal Joey (1957)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 16 December 1957 (Brazil)
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Joey Evans is charming, handsome, funny, talented, and a first class, A-number-one heel. When Joey meets the former chorus girl ("She used to be 'Vera...with the Vanishing Veils'") and now ... See full summary »

Director:

George Sidney

Writers:

Dorothy Kingsley (screenplay), John O'Hara (from the musical play book by)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rita Hayworth ... Mrs. Vera Prentice-Simpson
Frank Sinatra ... Joey Evans
Kim Novak ... Linda English
Barbara Nichols ... Gladys
Bobby Sherwood Bobby Sherwood ... Ned Galvin
Hank Henry ... Mike Miggins
Elizabeth Patterson ... Mrs. Casey
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Franklyn Farnum ... Guest at Charity Ball (scenes deleted)
Bess Flowers ... Guest at Charity Ball (scenes deleted)
Pierre Watkin ... Mr. Forsythe (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

Joey Evans is charming, handsome, funny, talented, and a first class, A-number-one heel. When Joey meets the former chorus girl ("She used to be 'Vera...with the Vanishing Veils'") and now rich widow Vera Simpson, the two lecherous souls seem made for each other. That is, until Linda English comes along. Linda is a "mouse on the chorus line" and built like there's no tomorrow. But she's the typical good little girl from a good little home -- just the right ingredient to louse up Joey's cushy set up. Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

JOY STORY OF JOEY...(the heel)! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1957 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

La blonde ou la rousse See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In a departure from the play, Frank Sinatra tailored the part of Joey to fit his style, rather than the anti-hero he originally was. See more »

Goofs

When Ned introduces Joey to Linda, Joey has his hands on the table. In the subsequent shot he is holding a cup, about to drink. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Joey Evans: Now, wait a minute, fellas. You got this all wrong. I never laid a hand on her.
Policeman: Yeah, we got there just in time.
Detective: That's the trouble with you nightclub entertainers, you're all alike. You think you own every dame in the country.
Joey Evans: Now, wait a minute, show me a law in the country that says I can't buy a doll a friendly drink.
Detective: No law. Just don't buy a drink in your hotel room for a doll that's underage.
Policeman: Come on, let's get goin' bud.
Joey Evans: Now, wait a minute, how did I know she was jailbait? ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Pinocchio (1940) See more »

Soundtracks

There's A Small Hotel
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Words by Lorenz Hart
Performed by Frank Sinatra
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charming story, top-notch performances, sublime music, excellent script, lush visuals, and beautiful women
21 May 2005 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

If you read my title, that's probably all I should have to say about this one. But I'll flesh it out for you a bit. If you couldn't tell, this is one of my favorite musicals, and one of my favorite films, period. In my view, there's not a flaw to be had here--we'd have to invent one, and it would be implausible. I give plenty of 10s, but quite a few are like rating a one-scoop ice cream cone where they forgot the cone, but where there's an extra scoop of ice cream in an attractive dish to make up for it. Pal Joey is like a one-scoop ice cream cone where not only is the cone there, it's the kind of cone you love, and there are two extra scoops of ice cream that happen to be your favorite flavors.

Frank Sinatra is Joey Evans, a peripatetic musician who is also quite popular with women, but who has a reputation for not being exactly dependable or trustworthy. As the film opens he's being put on a train with a one-way ticket out of town because he was caught in an almost compromising situation with the Mayor's underaged daughter. He makes his way to San Francisco, where he sees that an old "friend"--more like an old debtee, Ned Galvin (Bobby Sherwood), is leading the band in a local club, The Barbary Coast. Joey finagles his way into a job, made more enticing to him, aside from the fact that he's broke, by the large number of very attractive women performers. But the club owner, Mike Miggins (Hank Henry), can see through his conniving ways.

Joey, who dreams of one day having his own club, begins falling for Linda English (Kim Novak), despite the fact that Ned is head over heels for her and out of all of the women, Linda is the one who wants the least to do with him. He also runs into Vera Simpson (Rita Hayworth) when he does a society gig with Ned. It seems that Vera used to be a showgirl like Linda, but she "married up". Pal Joey is largely about a love triangle between Joey, Linda and Vera.

This is an unusual romance in that for much of its length, all of the involved parties are reluctant. Linda may be attracted to Joey, but she knows better than getting involved with such a shifty womanizer. Vera is likewise cautious--especially since she has an implied history with Joey, and she now has a lot at stake. Joey is more than content to not approach commitment--he's satisfied with the string of women who continually pass through his life, who are all too happy to go out of their way to accommodate him--including doing his laundry and politely looking on and smiling when Joey puts the moves on another "mouse", as he calls them. As for Joey's interest in the two principals, it's not that he's not attracted to either, of course (what woman isn't he attracted to?), but with Vera he's playing her both for her money/social influence and to undermine what he sees as a feigned identity, and with Linda, he's initially attracted because she's playing hard to get. Both Linda and Vera also end up playing Joey to an extent to get back at him for various ethical blunders.

In addition to being intriguing for its uniqueness and relative complexity, all of this works as well as it does because the three leads are incredible performers and the script is intelligent, witty and tightly constructed. Sinatra, Novak and Hayworth are mesmerizing to watch on their own, but they all have great chemistry together, too. The characters seem tailor-made for these actors, despite the fact that the script was based on a popular Broadway show that began its run in 1940, and the Broadway show was itself based on short fiction pieces by John O'Hara that appeared in New Yorker Magazine.

Dorothy Kingsley's screenplay is loaded with subtle, quick humor in its clever dialogue. The combination of script, exemplary direction by George Sidney, and the great performances enables a number of very sophisticated dramatic moves, such as the deep backstory between Joey and Vera that is almost completely implied, and the overall atmosphere of the film, with its captivating and paradoxical combination of an ideal, romantic (in a more formal sense) world and a more earthy, cynical reality.

The atmosphere is also helped by the lush Technicolor cinematography, with some impressive shots of San Francisco, but equally attractive soundstage set-ups. It's interesting to note Kim Novak's look here, especially when she's framed against San Francisco cityscapes--it's remarkably prescient of her appearance in Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). I suppose Pal Joey may have been why Hitchcock decided to cast Novak, and it may have influenced him a bit visually.

Before I run out of space, I should mention the music, by the incomparable duo of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, which is one of the best things about the film. Every song in Pal Joey is a gem. As a testament to how good they are, four of them--"I Could Write a Book", "The Lady is a Tramp", "My Funny Valentine", and my personal favorite, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" (the theme of the film)--have become jazz standards over the years. There have been hundreds of recordings by different artists performing them--for that matter there are hundreds of recordings of "My Funny Valentine" alone. The arrangements (partially by Nelson Riddle) and performances (especially by Sinatra, but that probably goes without saying) in the film are sublime. If you're a jazz lover, the film would be worth viewing for the music alone, but of course it offers much more than that.

Unless you simply hate musicals (in which case it's very unlikely that you've read this far), make sure you see Pal Joey at least once.


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