High Society (1956, dir. Charles Walters) may not be everyone’s cup of tea. A lot of people don’t like musicals, and a lot of people don’t like remakes. And a lot of people love The Philadelphia Story (1940, dir. George Cukor). However, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby AND Louis Armstrong? Come on! And though I love Grace Kelly in it – because I love her in everything -, it’s Frank and Bing who take today’s spotlight with their wonderful, chaotic and awesome rendition of Cole Porter’s ‘Well Did You Evah?’.
So, what’s happening? Tracy Lord (Kelly) and George Kittredge (John Lund) are getting married, but C. K. Dexter Haven (Bing Crosby), Tracy’s ex-husband shows up unexpected, as do journalists Mike Connor (Frank Sinatra) and Liz Imbrie (Celeste Holm). You know how it goes. Naturally, during the party, heads butt and egos clash. Enter Frank and Bing. Two of the greatest voices of the 20th Century drinking it up, complaining about the party, taking friendly jabs at each other and bringing it, like always. ‘True Love’ may be High Society’s biggest song, but Well Did You Evah! has always been my favorite. The lyrics, the tune, the (drunken) dance routine, the comic timing, the jokes… It’s just a joy to watch these two giants doing their thing. And apparently, they almost didn’t happen! Originally written for the musical DuBarry was a Lady, the song was apparently added at the last minute because they realized they didn’t have a song for Frank and Bing to sing together. Makes sense. If only they’d thought of that for Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart!