2005-07-11

High Society - The Philadelphia Story

Hi everybody!
As we watched the second part of "High Society" today, I looked for some critics about the film and found some very interesting facts which I want to tell you:

High Society is based on The Philadelphia Story, filmed by MGM in 1940 and starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart.
A completely new score was written for the film by Cole Porter and one tune, "True Love," was nominated for the Best Song Oscar of 1956.
The ring Grace Kelly displayed in the movie as her's character engagement ring was actually Kelly's own, given to her by her fiance, Prince Rainier of Monaco.
Crosby, Sinatra, Kelly and Armstrong recorded the soundtrack album for Capitol Records in 1956.
It was recorded in stereo, but because stereo LPs did not hit the market until 1958, it was originally released in mono.
The album was Crosby's first after his 20-year exclusive recording contract with Decca Records expired and he chose not to renew. His and Kelly's single of "True Love" became a gold record.
The film was the biggest money-maker of 1956.
(http://www.classicmoviemusicals.com/hisoc.htm)

Apart from this I also found some critics which weren’t very positive, here’s one of them:

I know it's not really fair to compare the two movies, but if you're going to film a remake of a classic you'd better make it different enough to stand on its own. Just adding songs and changing the faces isn't enough. I'm sure they thought this would be the perfect way to get these three stars onscreen together and initially I'd have to agree. This story gives Kelly the chance to flirt with both men while rediscovering her one true love and her imperfect nature. What saddens me is this role turns her into the cold blond goddess she managed to avoid for most of her short career. Sure she may look that way, but in most of her films her intelligence, passion and vulnerability shine through. Here, she never looses that icy reserve, even when her dialogue and actions are supposed to show differently. There's no fire behind those eyes, no matter how much she tries to light it. Hepburn finds strength, redemption and acceptance from her foibles, willing to start anew under her own steam with her eyes open. She doesn't need a man to be happy, but is thrilled when Dexter gives her another chance to prove what a great wife she can be. Kelly just seems resigned to her fate, glad that Dexter decided to rescue her from her clearly unfit behavior and a boring future. It's funny how much sexual tension Kelly has with both Stewart and Grant in earlier pictures and how little with either of the men here. Maybe she was too involved with her upcoming nuptials to Prince Rainier to put much effort into her acting.
I have to admit that this is the first film with Crosby that I've see all the way through. I was not impressed. He's going through the motions of being charming without any of the effort, relying on his voice to get him through. His Dexter seems to only want Tracy because she's the prettiest girl in the movie, not because she's a kindred spirit. He may be a great singer, but his acting leaves much to be desired. Sinatra, who I enjoy more as a performer, manages to give his character a little pizazz, but none of the indignation or intelligence that Stewart gave the role. Celeste Holm was horribly miscast as Liz, Sinatra's eventual love interest. She's far too innately intelligent and classy for a lug like him. The music is wonderful with songs composed by Cole Porter and played by Louis Armstrong. However, they really don't add anything to the story and really slow down the pace of the film. The dialogue makes this a screwball comedy, needing a certain timing to be funny and effective. By altering that, the film just seems tiresome and dim-witted. If you're a fan of any of the leads, you'll probably enjoy this outing...as long as you haven't seen the original. They do a decent job, but it just doesn't compare to the triumvirate of Grant, Hepburn and Stewart. If you haven't seen either, do yourself a favor and watch THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. That's how romantic comedies are supposed to be made. (http://crazy4cinema.com/Review/FilmsH/f_high_society.html)

Well, after having read this article, I’m very interested in "The Philadelphia Story". Perhaps we could also watch it?

See you tomorrow!

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