High Society (1956)
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First time I saw Grace Kelly, been enchanted ever since. :-)
Take The Philadelphia Story and turn into a bubbly musical mostly played for laughs, and it still works. That's High So, that's High Soci, that's High Society! The original was an acting showcase, but this one has its own great performances. I don't normally think of Grace Kelly in terms of comedy, but she's hilarious in this. Though it doesn't push on its themes quite as hard as the work it's based on, it's still the story of a perfect socialite needed to break her own mold and daring to be flawed in public, so self-reinvention is at the heart of it, for both the character and the actress. And then there's the relationship between the mother and the younger daughter that's a scream, and perhaps a look at how the elder was raised to become who she is. Crosby and Sinatra glide through the film effortlessly as shades of themselves. Celeste Holm is very sympathetic. Lots of cracking lines, and pleasantly sung songs. One of my favorite bits, however, is Louis Armstrong and his band as a sort of Greek chorus with the ability to guide the events emotionally. Great conceit. So while High Society is a remake, the tone is so different that it doesn't feel like a repetition. I liked both for their own virtues.
Nothing's going to compare to the original, and this movie is always weaker when it just lifts passages straight from the script, but it's still got that great 1950s MGM musical charm. The VistaVision and Technicolor almost makes the whole film seems like it takes place in a dollhouse, elegant and fantastical.
Also, Louis Armstrong. So there's that.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #226 in Emma Beare's 501 Must-See Movies
This movie ranks #307 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #426 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life