Frank and Bing, Well Did You Evah!

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!

ONE MOVIE, THREE QUOTES: An Affair to Remember (1957)

Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day! So, of course, ONE MOVIE, THREE QUOTES is getting all mushy and romantic with none other than An Affair to Remember (1957, dir. Leo McCarey).

OK, I’m going to go ahead and say that An Affair to Remember is the greatest romantic film of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Now, obviously there are a few others that are equally romantic and arguably better films overall, including, indeed, Casablanca (1942, dir. Michael Curtiz), but they might fall into other categories as well, such as drama, adventure, war, etc. In my opinion, An Affair to Remember is top of the list of films that are strictly a ‘romance’. Some people would argue that its predecessor Love Affair (1939), also directed by Leo McCarey, is the better version – I actually wrote a comparison piece for DOUBLE BILL a few years ago -, but to me, this might be one of those instances where the remake is better than the original, so I had to go with it. Full disclosure, I did think of Brief Encounter (1945, dir. David Lean), but the thought of watching it again and getting my heart ripped to shreds filled me with dread, as it does many times (thanks, Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, I’ll get back to you again one day, I promise!) Anyway, at least An Affair to Remember has a happy ending. Here we go: Nickie (Cary Grant) and Terry (Deborah Kerr) meet while on a cruise ship and end up falling in love. They agree to meet again in six months in the Empire State Building so they can be together, but something goes terribly wrong…

Get ready for some beautiful stuff:

1. ‘I’m not prudish or anything, but my mother warned me not to enter a man’s room first in months ending with R.’ Terry. – I’ve always loved Deborah Kerr’s performance in this film. The ease with which she goes from comedy to drama in a matter of seconds is beautiful to watch and, to this day, I still can’t believe she never won an Oscar.

2. ‘We’re heading into a rough sea, Nickie.’ ‘I know. We changed our course today.’ Terry and Nickie. – Hello, metaphor. Just stunning.

3. ‘Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories. We’ve already missed the spring.’ Terry. – My favorite line in the film and one of my favorites in cinema history. *cries uncontrollably* pass the hankies…

Happy Valentine’s Day!