Monday, August 28, 2006

Pal Joey (1957)

After Harry Cohn saw the success of the Gene Kelly/Rita Hayworth team in the musical Cover Girl (1944), the two were promised this film. Sadly, it took another 15 years for it to reach the screen, and by that time Kelly (whose star-making role was in the original 1940 Broadway production) was bound to MGM and Hayworth was given the role of the older woman, with 'Kim Novak' now playing the younger woman.

It features three great (Richard) Rodgers and (Lorenz) Hart numbers, one for each of its leads: Sinatra sings "The Lady is a Tramp", Hayworth dubbed by Jo Ann Greer got "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" and Novak (dubbed by Trudy Erwin) does "My Funny Valentine".

In the film, the character of Joey was changed from a dancer to a singer and the setting was changed from Chicago to San Francisco. In addition, Joey's character was softened by the inclusion of the last act in which Joey is reconciled with "Linda." Various locations throughout San Francisco were utilized for the film, including Telegraph Hill, according to a May 1957 Variety news item.

Pal Joey marked the only production of Essex-George Sidney Productions, a production unit formed by George Sidney and Frank Sinatra. Pal Joey was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Recording. Sinatra won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film.

Hard (on) Fact..
- In the scene where Frank Sinatra sings "The Lady is a Tramp" and then dances with Rita Hayworth, there is a moment where she is supposed to say a line. However, she appears to stop herself and smile instead. This is because she realized during the take that Sinatra had an erection, and her surprise caused her to miss the line. However, her take was considered so priceless that it was left in. You can also see Sinatra strategically using the fur coat to cover his lower body as he exits the scene.

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