PAL JOEY's original source was John O'Hara's series of fictional "letters," published in the New Yorker, from a mythical dancer who signed all the missives, "Your Pal Joey." O'Hara was approached by producer George Abbott, who talked him into adapting the stories into a book for a musical.
Rodgers and Hart came aboard and the play was a success, with sensational, sexy tunes. In this bowdlerized film adaptation, Joey is not a dancer but a singer. Sinatra does a bang-up job as Joey, a saloon singer who arrives in San Francisco with a gleam in his eye, a tuxedo in his suitcase, and not
a penny in his pocket. He gets a job at a nightclub, and soon has his way with most of the club chorines, the hold-out being Linda (Kim Novak), a sweet ingenue. When Joey and the band (led by real-life bandleader Bobby Sherwood) are booked for a private soiree at the posh home of wealthy widow
Vera (Rita Hayworth), Joey recognizes her as a former stripper. Vera has eyes for Joey, who is himself rapidly falling for Linda, and decides to finance him in his own nightspot, the Chez Joey. Noting, however, that there is more between Joey and Linda than a professional relationship, she holds
back the money and tells Joey he cannot open the club if Linda remains with the establishment. Turning over a new leaf, erstwhile heel Joey won't give in, but Linda begs Vera to go ahead with the deal. Vera says she'll do so if Linda will get lost, and offers to end Joey's years of poverty by
marrying him, a tempting prospect--but Joey makes the right choice. Some of Rodgers and Hart's best songs ever are in this score, including Sinatra's classic rendition of "The Lady Is a Tramp." (Novak and Hayworth's singing voices are dubbed.) Add gorgeous costumes, excellent choreography by
Hermes Pan, and snappy direction by George Sidney to the tunes and what you have is a don't-miss picture.
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- Rating: NR
- Review: PAL JOEY's original source was John O'Hara's series of fictional "letters," published in the New Yorker, from a mythical dancer who signed all the missives, "Your Pal Joey." O'Hara was approached by producer George Abbott, who talked him into adapting the… (more)