It’s probably unfair of me to start with this detail, but the opening of “High Society” rubbed me the wrong way. There’s Louis Armstrong with his jazz band and they’re all in the back of the bus! Yes, this is the 1950s remake of “The Philadelphia Story,” folks, and the status quo will be upheld, come what may. All the style of the original has been lost, and they’ve added musical numbers to give Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby a chance to croon, in and around drinking cocktails. But like a bottle of champagne that’s been sitting around, this one lacks fizz.
Where’s the chemistry, I ask you? Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn had it. Frank Sinatra’s just speaking his lines, waiting for the next occasion when he gets to sing with that twinkle in his eye. And Bing Crosby’s just not up to playing against Celeste Holm — of course, James Stewart’s academy-award-winning performance in the role was hard to top.
Honestly, what were they thinking, remaking a picture that was already letter-perfect? I feel sorry for Grace Kelly, who was lovely. This dog was the last film she made before her marriage to Prince Rainier and there’s nothing wrong with her performance. She just wasn’t Katharine Hepburn. When she says the boat her ex-husband designed was “yar” you don’t believe she knows what the word means.
Watch Hepburn say it right: