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High Society Reviews

Written with all the bite of a distinctly middle-class church social, this musical re-working of THE PHILADELPHIA STORY feels distant. Cole Porter's score sits on it like a champagne bubble in a vat of flat beer. Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly, in her last film before marrying Prince Ranier of Monaco) lives in Newport and has a trio of men encircling her: her ex-husband, C.K. Dexter-Haven (Bing Crosby), with whom she is still on fairly good terms; her fiance, George Kittredge (John Lund), a professional prig; and Mike Connor (Frank Sinatra), a breezy reporter sent to cover the wedding by a Life magazine-like periodical. The rest of the cast includes Celeste Holm as Connor's photographer; Sidney Blackmer as Tracy's skirt-chasing father; Margalo Gillmore as her mother; and Louis Calhern as her uncle. The leads are all too laconic for the movie's own good. Crosby is far too old for his role--he looks like a piece of walking beef jerky. Sinatra comes off more like a gate-crashing taxi-driver than a reporter. He can't muster the energy to get past his own phony "hip" persona. And Kelly seems preoccupied by another wedding, or perhaps wallpaper choices for the palace. Still, there are a few diverting moments seeing Bing work out with Frank and the ever-welcome Satchmo. Re the score: the only song not written for the movie was "Well, Did You Evah?" which was first sung by Betty Grable in Cole Porter's 1939 Broadway musical Du Barry Was a Lady.