Tuesday, December 29, 2009

High Society: The Philadelphia Story remake I never knew existed

Hello :) Welcome back to this little space after a few weeks of much needed hiatus and retreat. I have been away in Nebraska for Christmas, and no, I'm not really ready to be back in the city. But never mind all that, lets jump in, shall we?

I used to play a little game with friends and strangers called 'Let's recast The Philadelphia Story.' The Philadelphia Story, if you weren't aware, is one of my all time favorite films. You can read about it here. One of the many things that makes this film remarkable is that three of the biggest actors from the early 1940's star in it-- Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Katherine Hepburn.

So next comes the question of who would we cast in these roles if the film were to be remade? What actress could ever fill the shoes of Katherine Hepburn as Tracy Lord? Cary Grant as Dexter? (George Cluny, clearly. And perhaps Tom Hanks in the Stewart role. MAYBE Brad Pitt. Cate Blanchett as Hepburn could work. I'm open to suggestions.) Could it even be done?

Well APPARENTLY it has! Imagine my surprise when I opened my stocking to find High Society, a 1956 REMAKE OF THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. Mind blowing. (And thank you, Emily, for the stocking stuffer!) High Society, starring (are you prepared for this?) Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and to throw in an extra punch, Louis Armstrong.

High Society follows The Philadelphia Story's script to a T, with the addition of a few musical numbers (by the great Cole Porter) and a few minor plot shifts. The biggest addition is C.K. Dexter's reason for being on the estate-- a jazz fest. Oh, and that the story is set in Baltimore. (Which also explains the title change.) The Jazz fest does seem a bit disconnected from the rest of the script, and come to find out, it was only added to the film because the writer decided to combine two films-- The Philadelphia Story and a new film about the jazz scene in Baltimore. There ya go.

As for the cast change-- trying to compare makes me dizzy. Do we ask who is better? Bing Crosby or Cary Grant? Grace Kelly or Katherine Hepburn? Frank Sinatra or Jimmy Stewart? Ahh! It's a mean game of Sophie's Choice. I just can't do it. (Except, well, Grant, Hepburn, and Stewart. They win. There, I did it.)

That said, High Society is glorious. Glamorous, amazing, perfect. See it. When else will you see a duet between Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra? (Do you have chills?) Or, how about Bing Crosby and Louis Armstong!? Bananas. Craziness! Really lovely craziness. And a nice start to the New Year, don't you think?

Happy New Year, everyone :)

PS. A special thanks to my dear friend Amanda, who reminded me why blogging is good, and who has her own NEW little bloggy that I would like to share with you all: amandascates.blogspot.com Enjoy!


Ashley said...

I can't believe you'd never seen High Society Sarah!! It's one of my faves. Yay!

jorgensenk said...

I have to agree with you. Growing up with old black and whites as well as musicals, I have seen both movies. Philadelphia Story wins everytime for me. Just have always loved Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant and who doesn't enjoy Jimmy Stewart?!

Mach1 said...

I have, for some reason, seen "High Society." (I can even remember the opening song: "High So, High So-SIGH-uh-tee!")I am guessing it was one of the few videos the library had, so my parents rented it for us when we were little.

I have not, for some reason, seen "The Philadelphia Story." Hello, Netflix...

Gail said...

Since you watched it in the car with me in the front seat, alas, I have only "heard" High Society. I liked what I heard and your blog entry makes it a must for me in the near future!

Ms. S said...

So glad you're back! I was missing your updates. :) This one didn't disappoint.