Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Return to Tiffanys with Pal Joey

Apartments we love - hey, thats an idea for a post: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
Lazy afternoon on sofa, nursing a cold, with a divine double bill on television - well, it saves digging out the dvds. I can watch BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S any time and PAL JOEY was fairly new to me, not having seen it in years. Here's what I did on TIFFANY'S a year or two back ....
I can never resist another look at BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S whenever it screens, and so it was again yesterday. One can look at it for so many reasons: Audrey, the wit, romance, Capote, Blake Edwards' sure direction, its a great New York Movie etc. This time I focused on the cat -
who gets quite a bit to do in it. I wonder what this cat who lived 50 years ago made of it? He (or she) is put out in the rain, thrown around, and sits and observes. It is a great feline performance.
Who can resist that climax when Cat miows and Holly picks him up and Cat is crushed between them as they kiss in the rain and the heavenly choir soars - did two people ever look better in the rain? - they must have used glycerine or suchlike. .... 
TIFFANY'S remains one of the imperishable hits of 1961 along with THE MISFITSTWO WOMENONE EYED JACKSCOME SEPTEMBER ... That ending though: in Capote's novella Holly does go off to South America, and the gay (we understand) narrator keeps looking for the cat, and finds him one afternoon, sitting happily in the window of someone else's apartment. That is perfect too but the movie went for the softer option. Its still an iconic early '60s classic ... then there is Patricia Neal's "stylish girl" waving her chequebook and coming on like a vampiric dragon lady ... Audrey oddly reminds me a lot of Kay Kendall in her early zany scenes, waking up, getting ready to go out etc. Kendall had died 2 years previously in 1959, and she and her sister were showgirls in revues in early '50s London, as was Audrey, and I understand they all knew each other.
1957's PAL JOEY is also a sanitised version of the John O'Hara original - it was a terrific stage musical in London in the 80s with Sian Phillips dynamic in the Hayworth role and those Rodgers & Hart songs. This is 1957 though but at least Sinatra looks at his peak here as the heel with that hat and the coat slung over his shoulder. Rita Hayworth is delicious as Mrs Simpson the ex-showgirl/rich bitch who bankrolls Joey's nightclub but on her terms, while Kim Novak, nearing her zenith (as she would do next year 1958 with VERTIGO and BELL BOOK AND CANDLE) gives her showgirl a sad quality that is just right,
 and then there is that adorable pooch. San Francisco is the back-drop, Barbara Nicols is a brassy showgirl and the numbers include Kim miming "My Funny Valentine", Rita also mimes the zingy "Zip" and "Bewitched /Bothered and Bewildered" while showering - dig that ritzy shower ! Then Frank sings "The Lady Is A Tramp" and we are watching another iconic moment. Musicals veteran Charles Walters keeps it moving nicely. 1957 was a great year for musicals: THE PAJAMA GAME, LES GIRLS, SILK STOCKINGS and this .... we like them a lot.  Lots of ritzy clothes too - Kim looks edible in that lavender dress, and those gloves ! ..... while Rita sizzles in some Jean Louis creations.


  1. Great pot, but George Sidney directed "PalJoey," not Charles Walters

  2. Fixing typos:

    Great post, but George Sidney directed "Pal Joey," not Charles Walters. Apologies!

  3. Two movies I like very much, perfect Saturday afternoon fare...though I love Audrey Hepburn's uber glamorous Holly, I wonder how the film would have been different with Marilyn Monroe playing the role, as Truman Capote hoped. I think Monroe would have made a more believable Lula Mae-turned-prostitute, more in keeping with the novella...and in Pal Joey, I adore Rita Hayworth in her last glamorous role, and Sinatra sings magnificently, but the film lacks the grit and sex and wit of the stage version. In the 1940s, they wanted Mae West or Marlene Dietrich opposite Gene Kelly--that would have been something...

    I love your take on these classic films--another great post!