High Society Reviews
What a disappointment. Louis Armstrong seems shoe-horned in purely to meet other commercial aims of the studio. All the characters are utterly unlikeable. Grace Kelly is gorgeous but Tracy Lord is as unpleasant as they come - I really couldn't begin to see why everyone fawned over her, and I stopped caring long before the end.
The film claims it's about love, but none of the characters seem to even vaguely like each other. Their actions are frequently unbelievable and usually enfuriating.
I even lost interest in the songs - they were mere blips in a deeply disappointing experience. Awful.
A jazz musician by the name of C.K. Dexter-Haven (Bing Crosby) has recently been divorced from wealthy socialite Tracy Samantha Lord (Grace Kelly, in her final film role before officially becoming Princess Grace of Monaco). Despite this circumstance along with her recent engagement to snooty gentleman George Kittredge (John Lund), Dexter is still in love with her and determined to win her back. Things become further complicated when a magazine sends reporter Mike Connor (Frank Sinatra) and photographer Liz Imbrie (Celeste Holm) to cover the wedding in exchange of disregarding humiliating information about the family. Though Mike is very reluctant to be there, he does become attracted to Tracy as well. Now, Tracy must choose between Dexter, Mike, and George before the big day arrives.
If I could come up with only one reason why you should see this film regardless if you possibly don't care for either musicals or remakes, it would be for the cast. I don't recall another film in history that has brought together Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly all in one film. Kelly ends her impressive acting career here with arguably the only comedic role she's played. One could say she's mostly imitating Katherine Hepburn here and that some of her previous roles (notably Frances Stevens in "To Catch a Thief") technically had even more underlying humor present. She still has fun with this role and has not lost any of the charm or beauty that made people like me love her in the first place.
Crosby and Sinatra also bring their usual charm and star power to their roles, most notably in the film's best musical number "Well, Did You Evah". I liked the chemistry between Kelly and Sinatra, and how he has to take time to warm up to her ways. Even though Crosby and Sinatra are both competing for Kelly's affection, I didn't mind that they were still friendly towards one another. If it wasn't for the star power of Kelly, Sinatra or Crosby, I would have forgotten that there were even actors in this film since the characters themselves are pretty underdeveloped, especially George. George is the type of character that was only created for the convenience of the plot and nothing more. He is an exceptionally poor antagonist to the story because he has no personality to him and he doesn't seem to enjoy being there.
I've already implied that "Well, Did You Evah" was the musical highlight of the film, but how do the other songs written by Cole Porter hold up in my mind? I'd say that with the exception of one or two forgettable tunes, the others range from solid to catchy. "High Society" (the opening tune sung by Louis Armstrong and his band), "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire", and "You're Sensational" come to mind when naming other well written songs. If you're a hardcore fan of Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and the musical film genre in general, I think you'll find "High Society" to be fine, fluffy evening entertainment.
Although Grace Kelly has none of the unique charisma Katherine Hepburn has she did well. The real star of this film I feel is Louis Armstrong and his Jazz Band that do wonders for the feel of the film.
It's has a beautiful look to the film & some great musical numbers, it's different to Philadelphia Story in many ways & was a huge hit in its own right.