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'.

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’.

Kingsley pulled some switches in shaping the [1940] legiter for the screen. Given a buildup to star status is the chorine from Albuquerque who becomes Joey’s prey; Rita Hayworth (in the Vivienne Segal role) does the ‘Zip’ number that had been done by the herein-eliminated newspaper gal. There’s not much terping, and the finale is happy ending stuff.

Frank Sinatra is potent. He’s almost ideal as the irreverent, free-wheeling, glib Joey, delivering the rapid-fire cracks in a fashion that wrings out the full deeper-than-pale blue comedy potentials. Point might be made, though, that it’s hard to figure why all the mice fall for this rat. Kim Novak is one of the mice (term refers to the nitery gals) and rates high as ever in the looks department but her turn is pallid in contrast with the forceful job done by Sinatra.

Hayworth, no longer the ingenue, moves with authority as Joey’s sponsor and does the ‘Zip’ song visuals in such fiery, amusing style as to rate an encore. Standout of the score is ‘Lady Is a Tramp’. It’s a wham arrangement and Sinatra gives it powerhouse delivery.

1957: Nominations: Best Costume Design, Art Direction, Editing, Sound Recording

Pal Joey

Production

Columbia/Essex-Sidney. Director George Sidney; Producer Fred Kohlmar; Screenplay Dorothy Kingsley; Camera Harold Lipstein; Editor Viola Lawrence, Jerome Thoms; Music Morris Stoloff (sup.), Nelson Riddle, George Duning (arr.); Art Director Walter Holscher

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1957. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Rita Hayworth Frank Sinatra Kim Novak Barbara Nichols Bobby Sherwood Hank Henry

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