And here we are, for the movie that finally paired up longtime rival crooners Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, High Society, the 1956 musical remake of The Philadelphia Story. The movie also stars Grace Kelly and Louis Armstrong (and his band).
C. K. Dexter Haven (Bing Crosby) is back in town for the Newport jazz festival, and is putting up Louis Armstrong and his band at his mansion. Of course, the next day is Dexter’s ex-wife’s wedding! Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly) resents Dexter’s presence, but also has to deal with the presence of a reporter (Frank Sinatra) and a photographer (Celeste Holm) who have been sent from SPY magazine to cover her wedding. And all the while, everybody is continuously questioning how hard she has been on everybody, particularly her father and Dexter, which leaves her very confused.
Since I am strictly talking about High Society here (and not comparing it directly to The Philadelphia Story, which I will do in another post), let’s get into it! Part of the movie’s allure is pairing up Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Their big song together is “Well Did You Evah,” a song not written for this movie, but apparently pulled from another Cole Porter show when it was determined they needed a song for Bing and Frank to sing together. Their pairing is part of what makes this movie fun. They would work together again, in a few TV specials, with Frank making a cameo in The Road To Hong Kong, and with Bing joining Frank in the Rat Pack movie Robin And The 7 Hoods.
Equally fun in this movie is Louis Armstrong and his band. They introduce the movie with the song “High Society,” which serves as a prologue of sorts, and Louis continues to observe and comment on the goings on of the story throughout the rest of the movie, and helping to provide mood music for several songs. And of course, we also have Bing joining him for the song “Now You Has Jazz,” with the two “explaining” jazz!
Of course, with both Bing and Frank in the same movie, we have them both crooning to Grace Kelly! Bing romances her with the song “True Love,” which managed to be the movie’s big hit (and since Grace Kelly sang part of it with him, she became one of the few, if not the only, member of sitting royalty to receive a platinum record, since she married the prince of Monaco). And of course, Frank croons “You’re Sensational” to her, as well!
If you can’t tell, this is a movie I enjoy very much. I enjoy watching all the stars together, and the music, provided by Cole Porter, just helps make the movie that much better! So this is a movie I would recommend very much! This movie is available on DVD from Warner Home Video, and is one hour, fifty-two minutes in length.
My Rating: 10/10