I recently got into a bit of trouble with a joke I made in my review for Anchors Aweigh, in which I’d cheekily noted that my favorite film genre was “Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra as girl-chasing sailors on leave.” Of course, this is a “genre” that spans exactly two films–Anchors Aweigh and On the Town–so I felt bad when someone eagerly commented seeking a watch-list of other films they thought they had overlooked.
I mentioned the other day that wartime sailor musicals are one of my newly discovered favorite subgenres of musicals, and in that spirit, I’ve identified another worthy subgenre from my explorations: Las-Vegas-based musicals from the 1950s and 1960s. Not only do you get the Rat Pack and Elvis Presley at their peaks, but as a whole, the city of Las Vegas was really a unique cultural institution in this era as well–and as a city of constant reinvention, it’s unlikely to replicate this particular blend of style, danger, and opulence again.
It didn’t take much to get me to peak excitement for this film: Rat Pack + Robin Hood set in 1920s Chicago, and I was pretty much sold. Even if it turned out to be not great, the pieces were already set to make for a great movie experience.
Well, that’ll teach me to actually read the synopses before seeing the movie: I got about 5 minutes into High Society thinking, “Hmm, this is awfully similar to The Philadelphia Story before realizing that–well, yes, that’s because it IS The Philadelphia Story.
I tend to avoid synopses and trailers and so on before seeing movies if I can… I figure if I’ve already got enough to convince me to see the movie another way, I don’t need to do any further research. The last time this happened was with The Matchmaker, which had seemed awfully similar to Hello, Dolly–though really, in that case, it was the other way around since Matchmaker was out first.