Wednesday, November 12, 2014

313. High Society (1956)

Running Time: 107 minutes
Directed By: Charles Walters
Written By: John Patrick, from the play The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry
Main Cast: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm, John Lund
Click here to view the trailer


I have to admit I kind of lost a little bit more of my drive this week, as I used my off day yesterday to skip movies and take care of some other business (including a dentist appointment and some Christmas shopping). However, I'm back and trying to promise myself that I'll make some serious progress in the coming week. And we're off...

It's the weekend of Tracy Samantha Lord's (Kelly) wedding and inside her family's glorious, multi-room mansion, we are introduced to many visitors. There's her ex-husband/neighbor and musician C.K. Dexter-Haven (Crosby), who is still very much in love with Sam (as he calls her). He swoons over her as he invites his old pal Satchmo (Louis Armstrong playing himself) over to play some music and cover some Cole Porter tunes (nine in total, which THE BOOK claims don't take over the film, but I disagree). There's even a couple of magazine reporters who are granted VIP access into the home of the Lord's and the details of the wedding, in exchange for not publishing a story defaming Tracy's father. The reporters are Mike Connor (Sinatra) and Liz Imbrie (Holm). It seems that everyone is falling or re-falling in love with Tracy. There's her fiance to be George Kittredge (Lund), her ex C.K. and even the magazine reporter Mike Connor begins to fall under the spell of the beautiful Grace Kelly...and really, who can blame them. Look, it's the 1950s, it's a musical-comedy and I've given you the cast and characters, you can probably figure out the rest of the plot for yourself, as it goes pretty much how you'd expect.


Not a lot to say about this one, so let's keep it short & sweet shall we? It was a pleasant enough way to spend two hours, but I wouldn't go writing home about it or anything. I liked the cast, I liked about half of the songs (however none of them stood out) and the story was just about *meh*. If you've seen the original Philadelphia Story from the early 40s, then you'll probably agree that trading Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn for Crosby, Sinatra and Kelly isn't really a fair trade (although the Hepburn/Kelly swap is fine by me!). Someone, somewhere on the internet stated that "it's really not that long as you don't compare it to the original". I very much agree with that statement. And it's not like I LOVED the original or anything, it's just that it's better. Seriously though, has there ever been a more GRACEful, gorgeous actress than Grace Kelly? It's no wonder that this was her last Hollywood role before being scooped up by the Prince of Monaco and becoming a bona fide Princess.

One more thing: I always pride myself on being able to separate the artist from the person, but I found it very difficult to get into anything starring Bing Crosby, after assuming the things his son wrote of him were true. I paused the movie at the halfway mark, remembering some unsavory stories about Crosby and wanting to find out exactly what they were. I'll spare you the details if you don't know and tell you to visit Wikipedia or something and read them for yourself. His son painted him out to be quite the monster and therefore, I found this singing, dancing, charming, swooner of Kelly to be a nothing more than an impostor, a wolf in sheep's clothing if you will.

RATING: 6/10  I've said my peace in the one paragraph and that's really all there is to say. Not bad, not great, lingering at that average '6' mark that I've gotten so used to this season: good, but not good enough.


November 12, 2014  9:55am


  1. Let's just stick to grouping round the 'someone, somewhere on the internet' in saying it's not bad but....
    For someone who (generally) dislikes Musicals this slipped by without too much pain, even enjoying bits like 'Did you ever..?', but..
    If you are looking for an argument we could get into Katharine Hepburn v Grace Kelly debate, but again I suspect you could have guessed which way I'd come down on that one..

    1. I should've noted that I simply meant to swap Hepburn for Kelly just as far as eye candy is concerned. For acting ability, I'd definitely go with Katharine!


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