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Monday, June 4, 2012

High Society (1956)

When a Newport, Rhode Island society woman (Grace Kelly, whose final film this was before retiring to Monaco) is about to be married for the second time, a tabloid magazine threatens to publish a scandalous story about her father (Sidney Blackmer) unless she allows a writer (Frank Sinatra) and photographer (Celeste Holm) to cover the nuptials. MGM dusted off the old 1940 comedy THE PHILADELPHIA STORY, gave it a new paint job in the form of Technicolor, VistaVision, stereophonic sound and Cole Porter songs. The result is an elegant if uneven improvement on the original though Bing Crosby, as Kelly's ex-husband, is a dubious substitute for Cary Grant. Granted, I've never been a fan of the original Philip Barry material but turning it into a musical provides a welcome respite from the relentlessly arch dialog. The Porter score isn't among his best but there two winners, the lovely ballad True Love and Well, Did You Evah! which provides an opportunity for a witty duet between Sinatra and Crosby. Kelly, at her most beautiful here, looks terrific in her Helen Rose gowns. Directed by Charles Walters (GOOD NEWS). With Louis Calhern, John Lund, Margalo Gillmore and the great Louis Armstrong who has a nice duet with Crosby, Now You Has Jazz.

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