Pal Joey Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Virgoan, May 21, 2012.

  1. Virgoan

    Virgoan Second Unit

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    I'm going to openly admit that I am not a fan of Frank Sinatra, the singer/crooner.
    I have enjoyed many of his dramatic performances in film, however.
    But in "Pal Joey", I have to say that he seems totally out of his element. Oh, yes, he's got the swagger, and the mannersims and they work in the Sinatra touches including the ring-a-dings. But this guy is supposed to be irresistible to the ladies. And to that I can only offer a polite "guffaw" and "getouttahere!" They're pulling out leg. Right? Right? This guys something that the ladies can't live without?
    And the dialogue...and those cheesy time-worn comments that pop out of his mouth at every turn.
    "Chez Joey", indeed.
    This is a clunky and tired musical chestnut. It was raped and beaten and then smoothed over for public exhibition. It is not the better for it.
    I liked "Snuffy" the dog. And Kim Novak was gorgeous. And Rita Hayworth had some good moments.
    Great songs, too.
    But, "Woof"!
    This is what Sinatra opted for when even HE realized he couldn't pull off playing Billy Bigelow in "Carousel".
     
  2. RolandL

    RolandL Producer

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    Sinatra left the set of Carousel when he found out he had to do each scene twice. Once for the CinemaScope 55 camera and another for CinemaScope.
     
  3. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    Wow, this is considered by many to be Sintra's defining role. He's basically playing himself and the script was talyored to his talents. He hits all the great songs out of the park. How in the world can be out of his element here?
     
  4. marcco00

    marcco00 Stunt Coordinator

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    i'm also not a huge fan of sinatra as an actor/movie star, but i find his perfomance here to be most enjoyable. i think it's his best musical.
    kim novak has commented on how sinatra 'cut to ribbons' the whole 'chez joey' dream/dance sequence after she, hayworth and choreographer hermes pan had rehearsed it for weeks-
    i always thought that sequence was extremely short, and would have loved to see hayworth do a fiery dance alongside novak....that would have been fun.
     
  5. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    All I can say is that this movie apparently just wasn't your cup of tea. IMO, Sinatra is the greatest pop singer ever; so a movie that showcases him when his voice was in its prime, singing great Rogers and Hart material is right up my alley.
    I didn't see Joey portrayed as being "irresistible to the ladies". He had a sleazy quality about him that was tempered with charm. The women who find him "irresistible" are burlesque dancers who are attracted to sleazy charm. Rita Hayworth uses him like a gigolo, and Kim Novak wants to change him (and turns out to be the woman worth changing for). No, Sinatra does not look like Rock Hudson, but he exudes confidence, charisma and masculinity. My wife has never found Sinatra particularly attractive, but she certainly does not find him repellant as you seem to.
    Also, as a fan of Sinatra's singing, I have always been impressed by his ability to totally put a song over. His singing ability creates yet another persona for him. Look at stories of the real life Sinatra. You could hear him sing "I Didn't Know What Time it Was", and he sounds totally lovestruck and poetic. A minute later, he's serving divorce papers on his wife and saying "we're over, toots!". Sinatra the singer is somewhat idealized, because even though he did not write his songs, his delivery of them imparts an eloquence to him. Joey's style is so much like Sinatra's that I think you underestimate the fact that Joey's singing (like Sinatra's) makes him appear to have more depth than he has.
    It's not necessarily the most plausible story I've ever seen, but, hey, it's just a movie.
     
  6. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    That sequence contained the song "You Mustn't Kick it Around" From the Broadway version and also feature the chorus girls in a dream shot with clouds etc.

    Also planned: Rita Hayworth's number "What is a Man" from the Broadway version - though it was cut from the film (the scene where Frank visits her on her terrace which looks like it was re-shot back at the studio (some shots are at the San Francisco location)

    There is a vocal recording with Hayworth's dubber singing some of the vocal while Hayworth was to speak the rest.
     
  7. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    When Sinatra walked out on Carousel , he was quickly given the second male lead in High Society which was very fortunate indeed for him. Hollywood is not forgiving towards anyone who breaks their contract. Saul Chaplin's autobiography is eloquent on this episode. Pal Joey was made the following year.
     
  8. moviepas

    moviepas Second Unit

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    The story of Sinatra & Carousel is a likely Sinatra arrogance but recently this has been discussed as bunk. And Frankie-boy was back a Fox for 1960's big screen Can-Can with the late Juliet Prowse and Maurice Chevalier.
     
  9. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    As a newcomer here I'll chime in to say that I absolutely love Pal Joey (as well as Sinatra the crooner and actor). I was pleasantly surprised when I found out this movie was to be released on BD by Twilight Time a few months ago, and snapped up a copy. To be honest I wasn't sure it would ever see the light of BD, with so many other classics having languished on DVD only thus far. This is a fine presentation of the movie to my untrained eye, certainly no complaints here and no noticeable audio synch problems (using a Panasonic DMP BDT300).
    What's so great about Pal Joey the movie? Well as the guys above have noted this is Sinatra in his prime, essentially acting out his own personality, with two great co-stars and some fun songs. To me it doesn't get much better than this for 50's movie fare. Sure, the storyline is cheesy and contrived, but the style fairly oozes out of this movie. Read a good Sinatra biography like the recent Frank: The Voice and you'll quickly see that Joey and Frank are like two peas in a pod, walking a fine line between sleazy and charming. The fact that Sinatra built such a cult of personality around himself despite not being a physical specimen is a big part of his charm and mystique - although I have to question anyone who doesn't see his superior voice talent for what it is. Again, as the guys above have said, Sinatra's phrasing is perfect, every word completely believable.
    I take Pal Joey on BD as only a good start though. I'd love to see Some Came Running, Young at Heart and The Tender Trap on BD soon, as these are all very similar to Pal Joey, each drawing on certain facets of Sinatra's innate personality and exaggerating them somewhat, all with that 50's wit and style.
     
  10. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Great post, Koroush, and welcome to the forum! I agree that those other Sinatra films are quite worthwhile as they do seem to meld the characters Frank plays with his own personality.
     
  11. shazzerman

    shazzerman Agent

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    I would be ecstatic if Some Came Running got the blu-ray treatment!
     
  12. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    I would love for Warner to release on BD the wonderful Cole Porter musical "High Society", which features Sinatra in his prime and cavorting with musical contemporaries like Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong. While the DVD has a gorgeous transfer, I can't help but wonder how much better this large-format VistaVision spectacular would look in true 1080p resolution!!!:D
    The fact that this was also the last film project of gorgeous Grace Kelly isn't lost upon me either!!!:P
     
  13. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I second this request. The clips from High Society on the That's Entertainment Blu-rays are simply spectacular. They leap off the screen with an almost three dimensional impact. Would love to have this musical on Blu-ray!
     
  14. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    As we now have firm evidence that Vista Vision movies can look magnificent on Blu-ray, and as Sinatra, Crosby and Grace Kelly all still have loyal fan bases, it's surprising that Warners have not yet released High Society on BRD. Perhaps someone should tell them to wake up?
     
  15. marcco00

    marcco00 Stunt Coordinator

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    thanx for that info GM, i hadn't known that--- i learn so much stuff on this forum!!
    i would have loved to have seen these sequences, especially as this was rita's last musical film.
    BTW, the 'pal joey' transfer is spectacular, compared to previous releases of this film on home video.
    hayworth's hair in past releases was a bozo-the-clown bright red, which always bothered me..... now it is a more subdued, burgundy red wine color.
    love me some rita hayworth in technicolor.:D
     
  16. Persianimmortal

    Persianimmortal Screenwriter

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    I'm just surprised there's not more Sinatra on bluray in general. High Society would be great, but really just more of Frank's movies from the 50s would be a treat. And don't get me started on the lack of Grace Kelly on blu. At least we got To Catch a Thief recently, which is a good start.
     
  17. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    Good assessment of the Joey Evans (Pal Joey) character. The story isn't about brilliant undiscovered talent on the verge of national stardom. Joey's a heel, a small time hustler with just enough talent to occasionally make rent, hang out with a few strippers, and, if the planets line up just right, recognize and tap into the "tramp" side of a rich lady who he as his ticket to easy street rather than a love conquest. And she harbors no illusions about him. These are real downbeat, cynical types, which is what makes Pal Joey more interesting, imo.
    The problem with any film or stage production of a story about someone who really isn't supposed to be all that great as a performer is you've got to cast it with someone who is much better at singing or dancing than the character is supposed to be. Consequently, it is easy for some to miss the point. Sally Bowles, in Cabaret, isn't supposed to be good enough as a performer to move beyond fifth or sixth billing in a crummy dive bar burlesque revue. But you can't cast a movie of Cabaret or sell many soundtrack albums of it if you cast that part with a lousy performer. You cast Liza Minnelli, whose performance skills don't quite jive with being stuck as fifth or sixth billing in a crummy dive bar burlesque revue very long. I assume the same dichotomy applied to the casting of Gene Kelly in the original stage version of Pal Joey. Again, Joey isn't supposed to have been so great a dancer that almost anyone could see he was destined for stardom right around the corner. Yet you cast Gene Kelly in the role. If you adapt it for a singer for the movie, you thank your lucky stars Frank Sinatra was born to play it, even though Joey isn't supposed to be a "great" singer by any means.
    On another note, I guess there are lots of people who just don't "get" Frank Sinatra, which is fine and happens with every major celebrity no matter how successful. That was true even as record crowds and bobby-soxers were storming the Paramount Theatre to see him, filling stadiums, and keeping him a top recording, personal appearance and movie box office star for decades. Actually, I kind of feel sorry for people who don't "get" Frank Sinatra and am thankful that I do. He's brought a ton of fine musical and movie pleasures into my life.
     
  18. Cineman

    Cineman Stunt Coordinator

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    I second that request! I also think Young at Heart is a seminal movie in Sinatra's post-comeback movie and singing career, way overdue for a BD treatment. And there are a half-dozen songs from the Great American Song Book in it for Frank and Doris Day to sing. Personally, I think FS is better in the role than John Garfield was in his star-making turn with it fifteen years earlier in Four Daughters. The scene between Sinatra and Ethyl Barrymore is priceless.
     
  19. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Lately I seem to have lost interest in musicals, but High Society would be nice, yes.
    Another VistaVision / Technicolor priority of mine is Loving You with Elvis Presley, a quintessential film of the 1950s that signaled a cultural shift in musicals.
     
  20. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    Pal Joey contains some of Sinatra's most sophisticated vocals of the 1950s, and that's saying a lot. He recorded the soundtrack at the creative peak of his voice. Have you listened to Ella Fitzgerald's Great American Songbook recordings? The Verve albums are collected in a CD box-set. Same songs that Sinatra sung on his Capitol records. If Sinatra weren't around to compare them to, you'd think Ella sang the definitive versions. Her voice is sweet, lovely, clear as a bell, and her vocals sincere, but the dramatization isn't there Sinatra's emotional commitment is absolute. His voice acts out the lyrics like an actor. His interpretations tower over everyone who sang them before, and I include even Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.
     

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