Release year: 1957
Director: George Sidney
Screenwriter: Dorothy Kingsley, John O’Hara (Musical)
Starring: Frank Sinatra, Kim Novak, Rita Hayworth, Barbara Nichols, Bobby Sherwood, Hank Henry, Elizabeth Patterson
Ratings: 4 Oscar nominations: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Film Editing. 1 Golden Globe: Best Actor Musical/Comedy (Frank Sinatra)
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #14, week 37 2014
Joey Evans (Frank Sinatra) is a charming and talented singer with an insatiable desire for women. When he starts working at a new place he meets Linda English (Kim Novak), a quiet and good girl built “like there is no tomorrow”, and he is drawn to her and the fact that she can resist him.Something he isn’t familiar with. But then he also meets former chorus girl now rich widow Vera who can’t resist him long and soon a love triangle is at work. But will the playboy Joey choose a life with love or a life with money?
Directed by George Sidney who had earlier made Kiss Me Kate (1953) and Show Boat (1951) this charming musical surprisingly daring in tone considering its age. Besides the lead being a playboy that will make Hugh Hefner embarrassed if they compared their succes with women, Rita Hayworth’s (Gilda 1046) character was formerly known as Vera With the Vanishing Veils and approaches our anti-hero with an offer to make him her boy toy. The casting of Frank Sinatra (Ocean’s Eleven 1960) is a stroke of genius as it is hard to imagine anyone less charming than Ol’ Blue Eyes could pull of someone as promiscuous and sleazy as Joey and still make him as likeable. Hayworth puts her voloptuous figure to use as the seductress who tempts Joey and is the Tramp in Sinatra’s famous The Lady is a Tramp. Kim Novak mostly known for her starring role in Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) seems miscast, not because she isn’t beautiful enough to convince viewers she can tempt a player like Joey to give up his bachelor life, but because she simply seems bored and uncomfotable in her part as the cool blonde who desperately (and one might say cleverly) tries to resist Joey’s charm. Her less than mediocre performances unfortunately drags an otherwise charming movie down a bit, which is a shame as Hayworth and Sinatra strutt their talent, managing to make it enjoyable and more than worth a watch. The fact that during the movie you will be treated to the musical talents of mr. Sinatra only improves the movie. Do watch the trailer which is mainly a lecture from Frank Sinatra in the language of Pal Joey’s vocabulary.
Rita Hayworth plays the older rich woman who keeps Frank Sinatra as her boy toy. In real life she was three years younger than Sinatra.
Both Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak had their songs dubbed, Hayworth by Jo Ann Greer and Novak by Trudy Stevens.
The Broadway stage production of Pal Joye opened in 1940 and ran for 374 performances.