Fortified with a strong Cole Porter score, film is a pleasant romp for cast toppers Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Their impact is almost equally consistent. Although Sinatra has the top pop tune opportunities, the Groaner makes his specialties stand up and out on showmanship and delivery, and Kelly impresses as a femme lead.
The original Philip Barry play, The Philadelphia Story, holds up in its transmutation from the Main Line to a Newport jazz bash. Casting of Louis Armstrong for the jazz festivities was an inspired booking also.
The unfolding of the triangle almost assumes quadrangle proportions, when Sinatra (as the Life-mag-type feature writer), sent with Celeste Holm, almost moves in as a romantic vis-a-vis to the slightly spoiled and madcap Tracy Lord (Kelly).
Crosby is her first, now ex-husband, a hip character with song-smithing predilections, hence the Armstrong band booking on the local scene. Satchmo is utilized as a sort of pleasant play moderator, opening with ‘High Society Calypso’, which sets the al fresco mood of the picture.
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Porter has whipped up a solid set of songs with which vocal pros like the male stars and Holm do plenty. Latter and Sinatra have a neat offbeat number with ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ Crosby makes ‘Now You Has Jazz’ (aided by Armstrong) as his standout solo, although he is also effective with Kelly on ‘True Love’. Crosby and Sinatra milk ‘Well, Did You Evah?’ in a sophisticated smoking room sequence.
1956: Nominations: Best Motion Picture Story [withdrawn from final ballot], Scoring of a Musical Picture, Song (‘True Love’)