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HIGH SOCIETY (1956)

icon-dots 'TIL DEATH DO US PART

Cole Porter added songs to the romantic quadrangle of The Philadelphia Story (1940) to adapt this musical confection. Reportedly the film had originally been planned as a vehicle for Elizabeth Taylor to star as Tracy Lord, the haughty society girl about to marry stuffy businessman John Lund. When Grace Kelly was cast, neither MGM nor the public knew it would be Kelly’s last film before becoming a bride herself by marrying Prince Rainier of Monaco. She even wore her own engagement ring in the film. It’s rare to have a musical in which the leading lady has no solos, but in this case, the singing was handled with aplomb by Bing Crosby as Tracy’s free-spirited ex, Frank Sinatra as a reporter who falls for her while covering the wedding and Louis Armstrong as himself. Porter’s original songs included one big hit, “True Love,” sung by Crosby and Kelly. During production, director Charles Walters felt they needed a duet for the two male leads, so Porter dusted off an older song, “Well, Did You Evah!” It was certainly familiar to the director, who had performed it on Broadway with Betty Grable in DuBarry Was a Lady. (d. Charles Walters, 111m, DCP)

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