HIGH SOCIETY (1956) C widescreen 112m dir: Charles Walters
w/Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm, John Lund, Louis Calhern, Sidney Blackmer, Louis Armstrong, Margalo Gilmore, Lydia Reed
Entertaining musical remake of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY about the efforts of a wealthy man to win back his ex-wife who's about to be remarried and about the reporters who become entangled in these romantic complications. This doesn't quite have the bite of the original, but the cast is wonderful and the score (by Cole Porter) matches them. Songs include "High Society Calypso," "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," "Now You Has Jazz," "True Love," and "Well, Did You Evah?" The casting of Armstrong was inspired.
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "Fortified with a strong Cole Porter score, film is a pleasant romp for cast toppers Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Their impact is almost equally consistent. Although Sinatra has the top pop tune opportunities, the Groaner [Crosby] makes his specialties stand up and out on showmanship and delivery, and Kelly impresses as a femme lead."
HIGH SOCIETY was nominated initially for three Oscars: Best Motion Picture Story (Elwood Ullman, Edward Bernds), Scoring of a Musical Picture (Johnny Green, Saul Chaplin), and Song ("True Love" by Porter). The writing nomination was, however, withdrawn from the final ballot because of a problem "dubbed by Variety as the 'biggest boo-boo in Academy nomination history.' Among the nominees for Best Motion Picture Story was High Society, although the MGM musical was an adaptation of The Philadelphia Story and, thus, wasn't an original story at all. Adding to the confusion was the fact that the nominated writers --- Elwood Ullman and Edward Bernds --- weren't the guys who had written the musical, either. Investigation revealed that Ullman and Bernds had written a film called High Society in 1956 --- only it was a Bowery Boys movie." (Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards by Mason Wiley and Damien Bona)