Higher and Higher

Higher and Higher

Director: Tim Whelan Sr.

Cast: Michèle Morgan, Jack Haley, Frank Sinatra

     
 

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Higher and Higher was advertised by RKO Radio as "The Sinatra Show," and small wonder: In his first major film role, Frank Sinatra was easily the film's biggest box-office draw. Actually, Frankie was a last minute addition to the film, which began as a traditional adaptation of a popular Broadway musical. Repeating his original stage role, Jack Haley plays MikeSee more details below

Overview

Higher and Higher was advertised by RKO Radio as "The Sinatra Show," and small wonder: In his first major film role, Frank Sinatra was easily the film's biggest box-office draw. Actually, Frankie was a last minute addition to the film, which began as a traditional adaptation of a popular Broadway musical. Repeating his original stage role, Jack Haley plays Mike, the head servant in the household of millionaire Mr. Drake (Leon Errol). When Drake faces bankruptcy, Mike rallies the servants together and cooks up a moneymaking scheme: they'll pass off pretty scullery maid Millie (Michele Morgan) as Drake's daughter, and marry her off to a wealthy bachelor. Complicating matters is Sir Bictor Fitzroy Victor (Victor Borge), an impoverished nobleman who is himself looking for a rich wife. Mike saves the day with a last-minute discovery in the wine cellar, but not before a series of hilarious and tuneful plot twists involving Millie, heiress Katherine (Barbara Hale), and hired help Mickey (Marcy McGuire) and Marty (Mel Torme). Hastily written into the proceedings as Drake's next door neighbor, Sinatra croons several standards-to-be, including "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" and "This is a Lovely Way to Spend an Evening"; he also is arbitrarily permitted the film's closing shot, emerging from heavenly clouds like the Second Coming of Music. Thanks to the film's enormous box-office take, everybody was happy with Higher and Higher--except Jack Haley, understandably miffed that his onetime starring role was whittled down to a supporting part to allow more screen time for the estimable Mr. Sinatra.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Higher and Higher is far from a classic movie musical, and it would justifiably be forgotten as just a minor effort were it not that it represented the first time that Frank Sinatra appeared onscreen in what could be called a substantial role. Cast as himself, Sinatra still has what amounts to a supporting role, and his relationship to the actual plot is minor; essentially, he comes on to sing 5 songs and is given some lightweight dramatic chores to handle. Sinatra eventually became a huge screen star, but he's very much in a nascent stage here. He's not entirely comfortable on camera, and the legendary ease he would later develop is missing here. Even so, he makes a definite impression, especially when given the chance to let out with a song. Then the film suddenly takes on a little bit of magic. When Sinatra's not around, Higher concerns itself with a trifling, ridiculous plot that stretches credulity and is far too contrived. The score is pleasant-to-good, but not in the same league as the score the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart created for the original stage production -- of which only one of the lesser songs was kept for the film. Jack Haley does well with one of his few leading man roles, and Michele Morgan is a welcome presence, but it's the supporting players -- Victor Borge, Mel Torme, Mary Wickes, Barbara Hale -- that give Higher its zing. The supporting players and Sinatra, of course.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/13/2008
UPC:
0883929010301
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:30:00

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Michèle Morgan Millie
Jack Haley Mike O'Brien
Frank Sinatra Himself
Leon Errol Cyrus Drake
Victor Borge Sir Victor Fitzroy Victor
Mel Tormé Marty
Robert Anderson Announcer
Edward Fielding Minister
Buddy Gorman Page Boy
Rita Gould Woman Assistant
Harry Holman Banker
Warren Jackson Contractor
Elizabeth Risdon Mrs. Keating
Tanis Chandler Debutante
King Kennedy Mr. Duval
Marcy McGuire Mickey
Mary Wickes Sandy
Barbara Hale Catherine Keating
Paul Hartman Byngham
Grace Hartman Hilda
Dooley Wilson Oscar
Ivy Scott Miss Whiffin
Rex Evans Mr. Green
Daun Kennedy Bridesmaid
Stanley Logan Mr. Henry, Hotel Manager
Ola Lorraine Sarah, Keatings' maid
Dorothy Malone A Bridesmaid
Shirley O'Hara Krims Bridesmaid
Elaine Riley Bridesmaid

Technical Credits
Tim Whelan Director,Producer
George M. Arthur Executive Producer
Constantin Bakaleinikoff Musical Direction/Supervision
William Bowers Screenwriter
Claude E. Carpenter Set Decoration/Design
Albert S. D'Agostino Art Director
Robert de Grasse Cinematographer
Jay Dratler Screenwriter
Howard Harris Screenwriter
Ernst Matray Choreography
Jimmy McHugh Score Composer
Gene Milford Editor
Jack Okey Art Director
Darrell Silvera Set Decoration/Design
Ralph Spence Screenwriter
Edward Stevenson Costumes/Costume Designer
Roy Webb Score Composer

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