High Society

MGM, 1956
"Bing Croby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra romp elegantly through the scenic, moneyed grounds and waters of outwardly elitist Newport, Rhode Island, in this hip, witty musical version of Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story.

Legendary Louis Armstrong, as himself, plays his trumpet and narrates in prose and song the peccadillos of his songwriter friend C.K. Dexter-Haven (Crosby), his haughtily beautiful perfectionist ex-wife Tracy Samantha Lord (Kelly) and her fiance George Kitredge (John Lund).  Sinatra and wise-cracking Celeste Holm, as a New York scandal sheet reporter and photographer, arrive to cover the wedding and complicate the tangled romances.

Armstrong and his composer buddy conspire musically and by other devious means to stop Tracy's marriage.  Dexter wants her back and she takes off with the magazine writer--all of which gives everybody wonderful excuses to break into the incomparable songs of Cole Porter."

[from MGM/UA video tape sleeve]


MGM, 1956, Technicolor, 107min, ****
Produced by: Sol C. Siegel
Directed by: Charles Walters
Associate: Arvid Griffen
Original Screen Play by: John Patrick (based on play by Philip Barry)
Musical Direction: Johnny Green
Vocal Arrangements: Nelson Riddle and Conrad Salinger
Choregoraphy: Charles Walter
Recording Director: "Dr." Wesley C. Miller
Art Directors: Cedric Gibbons and Hans Peters
Set Decorations: Richard Pefferle and Edwin B. Willis
Costume Design by: Helen Rose
Film Editor: Ralph E. Winters
Bing Crosby ... C.K. Dexter-Haven
Grace Kelly ... Tracy Lord
Frank Sinatra ... Mike Connor
Celeste Holm ... Liz Imbrie
John Lund ... George Kittredge
Louis Calhern ... Uncle Willie
Sidney Blackmer ... Seth Lord
Louis Armstrong and His Band ... Themselves
Margalo Gillmore ... Mrs. Seth Lord
Lydia Reed ... Caroline Lord
Gordon Richards ... Dexter-Haven's Butler
Richard Garrick ... Lord's Butler
[0:02] High Society Calypso (Louis Armstrong)
[0:14] Little One (Bing Crosby)
[0:35] Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Frank Sinatra & Celeste Holm)
[0:41] True Love (Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly)
[0:54] You're Sensational (Frank Sinatra)
[0:57] Samantha (Bing Crosby)
[1:04] Now You Has Jazz (Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong)
[1:13] Well, Did You Evah? (Frank Sinatra & Bing Crosby)
[1:21] Mind If I Make Love to You (Frank Sinatra)
All songs by Cole Porter
(numbers in brackets are time indexes in hours:minutes from beginning of tape)

High Society is based on The Philadelphia Story, filmed by MGM in 1940 and starring Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart.

A completely new score was written for the film by Cole Porter and one tune, "True Love," was nominated for the Best Song Oscar of 1956.

The ring Grace Kelly displayed in the movie as her's character engagement ring was actually Kelly's own, given to her by her fiance, Prince Rainier of Monaco.

Crosby, Sinatra, Kelly and Armstrong recorded the soundtrack album for Capitol Records in 1956.  It was recorded in stereo, but because stereo LPs did not hit the market until 1958, it was originally released in mono.  The album was Crosby's first after his 20-year exclusive recording contract with Decca Records expired and he chose not to renew.  His and Kelly's single of "True Love" became a gold record.

The film was the biggest money-maker of 1956.


original material ©1999 Ted Nesi