Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 1957. Essex Productions, George Sidney Productions. Screenplay by Dorothy Kingsley, based on the musical play book by John O’Hara. Cinematography by Harold Lipstein. Produced by Fred Kohlmar. Production Design by Walter Holscher. Costume Design by Jean Louis. Film Editing by Viola Lawrence, Jerome Thoms. Academy Awards 1957. Golden Globe Awards 1957.
Less than enjoyable mangling of the extremely popular Broadway show, with the writers making the main character, who’s supposed to be a total heel (played by Gene Kelly on Broadway), into a nicer guy for Frank Sinatra to play. The musical directors in turn take apart Rodgers and Hart’s original musical score and replace most of the songs with the duo’s most popular standards (hence the appearance of ‘My Funny Valentine’). The film suffers from these compromises, Sinatra’s miscasting, and a general lack of energy all around, but has a few inspired moments. A standout is Rita Hayworth‘s performance of the film’s beautiful ballad ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’. Our hero alternates between two lady loves, a classy dame (Hayworth) and an earnest singer (Kim Novak in a rare bad performance) while trying to realize his personal dream of running his own club.