On “Pal Joey” The Movie

The movie version of the 1940 musical, Pal Joey (1957), is sorely damaged by Kim Novak‘s poor performance.  Probably Frank Sinatra saves the enterprise (it is worth watching) as he sings well the first-rate Rodgers and Hart songs, including a couple from other shows.  It’s Tin Pan Alley heaven, even if the problem with the rendition of “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” is that Rita Hayworth‘s singing is partially dubbed.  (Likewise with “Zip.”)  The dubbing is obvious.

The movie is stupid enough to make Novak a little less alluring than she really is, or was, in order to play up the superior beauty of Hayworth.  It doesn’t work:  by 1957 Hayworth, though still attractive, was slowly losing her physical appeal and greatness.  The flick is in color, of course, and there are a few lovely outdoor scenic bits.  I’m sometimes bewitched by Pal Joey, sometimes bothered, but at least not bewildered.

Directed by George Sidney.

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