Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Musical Watch: High Society (1956)

Watched:  02/05/2019
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing: First
Decade:  1950's

So, this is a musical version of The Philadelphia Story - the classic flick starring Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.  Apparently that play became the movie of The Philadelphia Story, which became the stage musical High Society, which became this movie.

This movie isn't... great.  It's not bad, and I laughed out loud at a number of things, but on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.  And I say that as someone who is a fan of Bing Crosby movies and likes Cole Porter.

What this movie does do is let Louis Armstrong play himself, and give him time to appear quite a bit in the movie.  And he's not bad!

This is also the movie that dares to remind you that Grace Kelly was very, very good looking* - which, as she is not Kate Hepburn, seems to be the primary driver for why men are after her (ladies, believe it or not, personality and wit go really, really far.  Be a Kate Hepburn.).

I dunno.  I wish the music had more zip and it didn't feel like an echo of something else, but Bing looks like he's having a ball with Frank, and a gentleman in tophat and tails, suffering from a hangover, yells at a bird, and that was one of the funniest things I've seen in, like, a week.

*again, very attractive, that Grace Kelly


mcsteans said...

Having been a big fan of Philadelphia Story and seeing it multiple times, this movie was super weird. Like, it was so close to the original even the set and some of the cast looked like they could have been recycled. And as Ryan said, as much as I liked these actors, they didn't hold a candle to Hepburn, Grant, and Stewart (and shame on me I cannot remember the name of the woman who originally played Liz). It would have been one thing if they had committed to the musical structure and actually swapped some scenes out for singing, but they kept the whole original script and just dropped in a few songs here and there. It just made it feel longer than it needed to be.

mcsteans said...

Also! I'm not up on my Grace Kelly, so this may be how she always acts, but it really felt like she was trying to DO a Katherine Hepburn. And that was distracting.

The League said...

Yeah, as far as I know Grace Kelly wasn't an East Coast blue-blood, more middle class, and Hepburn was actually kinda/ sorta from the background of the character, so it may have been a confluence of not being able to NOT emulate Hepburn both through force of Hepburn's influence and because... that was sorta what rich folks of the place and era were.