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Pal Joey
     

Pal Joey

3.7 4
Director: George Sidney

Cast: Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak

 

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The John O'Hara/Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Broadway musical Pal Joey created quite a stir during its original theatrical run in 1940. Here we had a heel of a hero who sleeps with a wealthy older woman in order to realize his dream of owning his own nightclub, and who breaks the heart of the girl who truly loves him when she impedes his plans to get ahead.

Overview

The John O'Hara/Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Broadway musical Pal Joey created quite a stir during its original theatrical run in 1940. Here we had a heel of a hero who sleeps with a wealthy older woman in order to realize his dream of owning his own nightclub, and who breaks the heart of the girl who truly loves him when she impedes his plans to get ahead. Blossom Time it wasn't. Due to the seamy nature of the plot and the double- and single-entendre song lyrics (especially the original words for "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," which you aren't likely to hear on most mainstream recordings of this tune), Pal Joey could not be faithfully filmed back in the 1940s. Even this 1957 version, made at a time when movie censorship was beginning to relax, was extensively sanitized for public consumption. Ambitious singer/dancer Joey (Frank Sinatra) is still something of a louse, but a redeemable one. The relationship between Joey and his older benefactress Vera Simpson (Rita Hayworth, who was actually a few years younger than Sinatra) is one of implication rather than overt statement. And Joey's true love, chorine Linda English (Kim Novak), is as pure as the driven snow, who vehemently expresses distaste at having to perform a striptease. The Rodgers and Hart songs ("I Could Write a Book" the aforementioned "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered") which seemed so cynical and ironic back in 1940, are given the typically lush, luxurious Hollywood treatment (many of the tunes, notably "There's a Small Hotel," were borrowed from other Rodgers and Hart shows, a not uncommon practice of the time). Pal Joey is nice to look at and consummately performed, but don't expect the bite of the original play, or the John O'Hara short stories which preceded them.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
It took Pal Joey 17 years to get from Broadway to Hollywood, largely because the original source material was a little too racy for filming in 1940. The film still softens the story and characters a bit, but it maintains the tart, snappy flow of the dialogue. Indeed, Dorothy Kingsley's screenplay adds even more of that flip, smooth arrogance to the dialogue, even if structurally it's slightly weak. George Sidney directs in sleek style that perfectly complements the movie's star, Frank Sinatra. It's a classic Sinatra performance, detached and casual, which changes the character from the play's loser trying to play out of his league to someone who -- no matter what the script may say -- can take on anyone that comes his way. But as long as he's singing -- especially archetypal Sinatra songs such as "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "I Could Write a Book" -- such changes don't matter. He's matched by gorgeous Rita Hayworth alternating between fire and ice, and, even though dubbed, making "Zip" a riot and "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" steam up the screen. Kim Novak is game, but she doesn't stand much of a chance up against these two. The songs, by Rodgers & Hart, are absolutely first-rate, and they're presented here to their best advantage. Overall, Pal Joey is a stylish and winning musical presented with a great deal of panache.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/13/1996
UPC:
0043396607989
Original Release:
1957
Rating:
NR
Source:
Sony Pictures

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rita Hayworth Vera Simpson
Frank Sinatra Joey Evans
Kim Novak Linda English
Barbara Nichols Gladys
Bobby Sherwood Ned Galvin
Elizabeth Patterson Mrs. Casey
Barry Bernard Anderson
Hank Henry Mike Miggins
Robin Morse Bartender
Frank Wilcox Col. Langley
Pierre Watkin Mr. Forsythe
Ellie Kent Carol
Mara McAfee Sabrina
Betty Utey Patsy
Bek Nelson Lola
Leon Alton Printer Salesman
Maurice Argent Actor
Steve Benton Electrician
Gail Bonney Heavy-Set Woman
George Chan Chinese Pianist
Jane Chung Flower Lady
Oliver Cross Actor
Judy Dan Hat Check Girl
George de Normand Actor
Michael Ferris Tailor
George Ford Actor
Joseph Miksak Actor
Al Nalbandian Actor
Eddie Bartell Actor
Sydney Chatton Actor
Giselle D'Arc Vera's Maid
Robert Anderson Policeman
Tol Avery Detective
Jean Corbett Specialty Dance Double
Bess Flowers Person
Everett Glass Pet Store Owner
John Hubbard Stanley
Henry McCann Shorty
George Nardelli Headwaiter
Hermes Pan Choreographer
James Seay Livingston
Frank Sully Barker
Franklin Farnum Person

Technical Credits
George Sidney Director
Arthur S. Black Asst. Director
Louis Diage Set Decoration/Design
George Duning Score Composer
Walter Holscher Art Director
William Kiernan Set Decoration/Design
Dorothy Kingsley Screenwriter
Fred Kohlmar Producer
Ben Lane Makeup
Viola Lawrence Editor
Harold Lipstein Cinematographer
John P. Livadary Sound/Sound Designer
Jean Louis Costumes/Costume Designer
Hermes Pan Choreography
Nelson Riddle Score Composer
Morris W. Stoloff Musical Direction/Supervision
Jerome Thoms Editor

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Pal Joey 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SUZIDOT More than 1 year ago
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY AN ESCAPIST MOVIE! THE PLOT IS 'OK', BASED ON AN O'HARA BOOK, I BELIEVE. FRANK SINATRA IS AT HIS ABSOLUTE 'RAT PACK' BEST. KIM NOVAK IS QUITE ALLURING AND JUST A BIT SEXY. RITA HAYWORTH BLOWS ME AWAY. SHE IS STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL AND A PRETTY GOOD ACTOR. SAN FRANCISCO HAS NEVER LOOKED BETTER. THE TRUE STAR OF THIS FILM, HOVEVER, IS THE SOUNDTRACK. EITHER THE COLE PORTER SONGS, OR JUST THE BACKGROUND MUSIC, IT'S JAZZY, SWINGY AND A DELIGHT TO HEAR.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a classic old-time flick. Not much of a plot but an all-star cast with wonderful Rodgers & Hart music. Just a fun, feel-good movie to enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best of the era depicting the women/ song/ booze and more women theme.. Sinatra's treatment of the Rodgers and Hart songs are the best...Nelson Riddle's arrangements and overture are top shelf..and the story is amusing by 2005 standards. Has the feel of San Francisco in the 50's and early 60's...scenery is something you wouldn't want to miss..