Rita Hayworth, In Bed, "Pal Joey" (1957)
Screen capture of Columbia Pictures' musical film "Pal Joey, 1957.
About the film, via Wikipedia:
"Pal Joey" is a 1957 American Technicolor musical film, loosely adapted from the musical play of the same name, and starring Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, and Kim Novak. Jo Ann Greer sang for Hayworth, as she had done previously in Affair in Trinidad and Miss Sadie Thompson. Kim Novak's singing voice was dubbed by Trudy Erwin. George Sidney directed, with the choreography managed by Hermes Pan. Nelson Riddle handled the musical arrangements for the Rodgers and Hart standards "The Lady is a Tramp", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "I Could Write a Book" and "There's A Small Hotel."
The film is considered by many critics to be the definitive Sinatra vehicle. Sinatra won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his role as the wise-cracking, hard-bitten Joey Evans. Along with its strong box office success, Pal Joey also earned four Academy Award nominations and one Golden Globe nomination.
"Pal Joey" is one of Sinatra's few post-"From Here to Eternity" movies in which he did not receive top billing, which surprisingly went to Hayworth. Sinatra was, by that time, a bigger star, and his title role was predominant. When asked about the billing, Sinatra replied, "Ladies first." He was also quoted as saying that, as it was a Columbia film, Hayworth should have top billing because, "For years, she WAS Columbia Pictures", and that with regard to being billed "between" Hayworth and Novak, "That's a sandwich I don't mind being stuck in the middle of." As Columbia’s biggest star, Hayworth had been top billed in every film since Cover Girl in 1944, but her tenure was soon to end, in 1959 with Gary Cooper in "They Came to Cordura."
Opening to positive reviews on October 25, 1957, "Pal Joey" was an instant success with critics and the general public alike. The Variety review summarized: "Pal Joey is a strong, funny entertainment. Dorothy Kingsley's screenplay, from John O'Hara's book, is skillful rewriting, with colorful characters and solid story built around the Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart songs. Total of 14 tunes are intertwined with the plot, 10 of them being reprised from the original. Others by the same team of cleffers are 'I Didn't Know What Time It Was', 'The Lady Is a Tramp', 'There's a Small Hotel' and 'Funny Valentine'."
The New York Times commented, "This is largely Mr. Sinatra's show...he projects a distinctly bouncy likeable personality into an unusual role. And his rendition of the top tunes, notably "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Small Hotel," gives added lustre to these indestructible standards."
With box office receipts of $4.7 million, Pal Joey was ranked by Variety as one of the ten highest earning films of 1957.
New York Times overview and review in 2010:
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.
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