Pal Joey (1957)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5

USA, 1957.  Essex Productions, George Sidney Productions.  Screenplay by , based on the musical play book by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  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 ‘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 ( in a rare bad performance) while trying to realize his personal dream of running his own club.

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