High Society (1956)

60 years ago this week (17th July 1956) an amazing film was released. It’s the type of musical film that will probably always make it onto the greatest musical films and for very good reason. It is, in fact, one of my favourite musicals of all time. This film is High Society.

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I’m always shocked by how few people have ever heard of or seen this film because it brings some of the best actors and musicians of Old Hollywood together to portray a retelling of the very famous The Philadelphia Story. Now I’m not saying Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant and James Stewart didn’t do the original justice because they totally rocked the film but when you have the likes of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra together in a script that is funny and musically ingenious you know it’s going to be a film to talk about.

224265256413693233RDl7GbVXcIt’s always been a special film to me because it was Grace Kelly’s last ever film before she married Prince Rainier of Monaco and basically became a fairytale princess. In the film she plays a wealthy soon to be married socialite and yet we see her try to please her family and eventually go back to her ex-husband who she still loves. The film may be a musical comedy but the relationships and emotions involved in the film seem very normal.

The songs themselves tell a story and are very memorable, that’s why we named our blog after a High Society song. The song “Who Want’s to Be a Millionaire?” is sung by Sinatra and Celeste Holm and they make it a funny yet romantic song because they don’t want yachts or other expensive items they just want each other. The funnier thing is Sinatra’s character doesn’t even realise Holm has a crush on him.

You’ll also notice Louis Armstrong in the film with his band and how different his music is to the rest of the film. This brings a freshness because all his songs are fun and make you pay attention.

So what’s not to love? Excellent actors who may not have gotgrace-kelly-bing-crosby-frank-sinatra-high-society-1956 on in real life but have a great relationship on screen (Crosby kept his distance from Sinatra during production) A lovely vocal performance from Kelly and a great scene in French. Great songs and great musical talent to write and perform the songs which means the songs will be remembered more than the films.

Some musicals can become boring or not seem relevant to the time and we find them being consigned to the archives yet High Society as withstood society’s changes. It actually teaches us about love and relationships while reminding us of people’s standing in society and how we need to be our own person. 60 years on it’s still a watchable fun film that you’ll want to watch again and again.

That Old Frank (Film) Magic

This is obviously a bit belated but I wanted this to be perfect.

 

tumblr_nzqc9riaOE1r0dj31o1_500On the 12th December the great Frank Sinatra turned 100. Everyone was jumping on the band wagon by playing his great songs and telling us stories about his less than perfect private life. I’ve actually heard someone say they don’t like the guy now they’ve heard some of the sordid tales from his Vegas and married days. Let me assure you these probably are true, there’s lots of other similar tales from friends, family and acquaintances, but this shouldn’t put you off his magnificent work whether it be his song writing, his singing or his acting.

His acting is where we come in. I could spend days talking about his music and his Rat Pack singing days. I could tell you tales of who he inspired, how he was one of the few celebrities of the time who basically needed the press to survive.tumblr_nz9e4vfjJR1r3rmj3o1_500

High Society (1956)

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Grace Kelly & Frank Sinatra

One of the first films I ever watched that starred Sinatra and, to this day, it is still one of my favourite films. Sinatra stars with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Celeste Holm in this fun musical based on The Philadelphia Story. Sinatra is Mike Connor the journalist who is picked to report on the wedding of socialite Tracy Lord. True love ensues for Connor and Holm’s character, Liz Imbrie, yet it’s fun to watch them get to this point. The film has some great songs, some classic funny moments and an all over light hearted feel.

Anchors Aweigh (1945)

One of the first films Sinatra did with Gene Kelly.tumblr_mg8uq2h4IO1qapcnno1_250 This is a great film where Clarence Doolittle (Sinatra) and Joe Brady (Kelly) are on 4 days shore leave in Hollywood. They go on a musical journey where Joe teaches Clarence to pick up girls and he eventually finds an aspiring actress (Kathryn Grayson) who is the love of his life. There’s a mix of animation with Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse. There’s some excellent songs and it is a lovely story. You’ve probably heard of another sailor themed film, On The Town, featuring Sinatra and Kelly but this one is well worth a watch too.

Von Ryan’s Express (1965)

tumblr_mx3cqlhmkh1r3mh0to1_400.gifA Sinatra film that everyone should know about and one that’s a bit different to the others he was famous for. A war film in every sense the film is set in WWII and sees a group of allied soldiers try to escape by hijacking a train. Sinatra plays Joseph Ryan who is a US Air Corps pilot and gets taken to a concentration camp after being shot down. Here the film unfolds into a thrilling story of bravery and courage. Sinatra gives one of his best performances in this role. If you’ve read the book you’ll notice a few differences but I think you’ll agree they work perfectly in the film.

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

A true Rat Pack film, maybe not as famous as Ocean’s Eleven but this is still everything that made the Rat Pack films fun and enjoyable to watch. Sinatra truly made this film brilliant with a glittering cast and some memorable songs all done to the storyline of Robin Hood. Sinatra obviously has the leading role of Robbo and sees that fun, adventure and true spirit takes place in the ranks of Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and Peter Falk. It’s fun to watch while still teaching the meaning of Robin Hood.

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From Here to Eternity (1953)

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This film basically relaunched Sinatra’s film career and was nominated for and won many awards. It’s based on the book by James Jones and makes for the perfect movie. Sinatra, Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster play three US Army soldiers stationed in Hawaii months before Pearl Harbour. They each have their different problems and we learn a great deal about them throughout the film, as well as the jobs they do. Maggio (Sinatra) is a fun character and yet suffers terribly throughout the film. Sinatra, rightly so, won Best Supporting actor at the Oscars for his role.

Guys and Dolls (1955)

Where to start with the film. It’s based on thetumblr_n8aeofHfwt1sjmaqio1_500 Broadway musical but there are some differences most noticeably with there been extra songs written for the film. Sinatra plays gambler Nathan Detroit who’s finding it difficult to find somewhere to hold an illegal crap game because of the police. Then comes in Marlon Brando’s Sky Masterson and they bet on taking a girl out to dinner. Detroit also has to deal with his fiancé of 14 years wanting to tie the knot. The film is very upbeat and has some great romance to it. Sinatra fits the role of Detroit extremely well as if the part was made for him. If you’ve never seen it you’re missing one of the greatest musicals ever.

 

Frank Sinatra made films his own and brought so much emotion and drama to both the big and tv screen it’s a wonder his films aren’t more famous. He’ll always be remembered for his stunning vocals, even in films, but remember the guy won Academy Awards so he definitely did something right somewhere.

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Why 2015 will be a spectacular year

2015 is here guys! We’re all probably looking for holidays, short breaks and just nice things to do for the rest of the year to keep us smiling. This year has some great things in store for us Old Hollywood lovers. There’s also some marvellous stuff in store for all film, fashion and art lovers.

To give you a taste we’re going to run down what we’re looking forward to in 2015… Obviously not everything is here yet, some exciting things will pop up later this year.

Film/ Stage

I’m looking forward to Into The Woods. A mash up of fairytales, songs and an all star cast featuring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Johnny Depp and James Corden the film is sure to be a hit. Anna Kendrick also returns in Pitch Perfect 2 later in the year.

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Katharine Hepburn at BFI Southbank are holding a month katharine-hepburn-portrait-001-00n-7xkof this brilliantly talented woman’s work. I was very excited when I found out about this! Films range from The Philadelphia Story and Adam’s Rib to A Woman Rebels and Stage Door with everything in-between. For the full list visit BFI You can also buy tickets here if you really, really need to. I might even see some of you there.

February also brings the Fifty Shades of Grey film which I hear millions of women are super excited for. Based on the book of the same name it features the very wonderful looking Jamie Dornan. With an 18 rating it’s definitely for the adult audiences. Prepare for sexiness, stalking, no romance, kinky fuckery and a very controlling rich man. It’s due out in the UK on 13th February with tickets available now from most cinemas.

Fifty Shades See you now

2015 sees a brilliant treat from director Maria Friedman who is bringing High Society to the London stage. Old Vic is going to be holding this swellegant, elegant party which will be kicking off on 30th April. As of yet no cast as been confirmed, can’t be long to wait though! Tickets are available here

Two films I probably don’t need to mention, but I’ll refresh your memories, are The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. Both look like sure hits this year.

Big Hero 6 is worth a mention for an animated film…

Exhibitions

V&A host a stunning looking exhibition of the late, great Alexander McQueen’s work and creative brilliance. Savage Beauty runs from 14th March to 19th July and will be well worth a visit as it’s the largest collection looking back at McQueen’s work in Europe.

Fans of Audrey Hepburn will be flocking to National Portrait Gallery this summer to see their Portrait of an Icon exhibition. NPG have a range of photographic portraits spanning Hepburn’s life. These include fashion, film and philanthropic based photos from a range of photographers.

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TV

There’s probably to much happening with TV shows to mention here but here’s a few that caught my eye and/or I enjoy watching.

Supernatural is celebrating it’s 10th birthday this year. It doesn’t feel like two minutes since we met demon hunter brothers Sam and Dean Winchester. Here’s to many more years on TV hunting demons, saving us from apocalypses, getting trapped in hell and singing and dancing for us.

 

Police show Blue Bloods reached it’s 100th show on 9th January. No small feat with the way shows get cut and cancelled these days. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic also celebrates it’s 100th episode later this year when season 5 airs.

37871045I’m excited to see Rizzoli & Isles return for Season 6 and Bitten for Season 2. Both are shows based on books so it’ll be interesting to see which direction they go in. A lot has happened in both series that’s nowhere close to the book so we can’t guess what’s going to happen next.

2015 seems to be Marvel’s year. New comics, Age of Ultron film and the premiere of the tv series Agent Carter. This started in US last week and I’m quite impressed with it. I’m so glad Hayley Atwell as stayed on as Agent Peggy Carter and remains kick ass and a true role model to women.

As shows begin others unfortunately end. This year sees Lost Girl end on season 5. I’ll be sad to see this sexy succubus go but I’m glad we get a proper ending especially after the ending we got on season 4. Bo, Kenzie, Lauren and Dyson we’ll miss you guys!

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We’ll keep you updated throughout the year on these and many more happenings in the world of movies, tv and exhibitions. Until then enjoy the vast array of spectacular big and indie films out this year and keep your eyes peeled for other great ways to pass the hours.

Happy Birthday Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco!

Actress. Mother. Philanthropist. Style Icon. Princess of Monaco.

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Today would have been Grace Kelly’s 85th Birthday. She was as famous an actress as she was a Princess and will always be remembered for her fashion choices, very private private life and for her leading roles opposite some very famous leading men. When she gave up acting to marry Prince Rainier of Monaco Hollywood and her fans literally mourned the loss of such an amazing and dedicated actress but we would soon see her as  the perfect Princess. She took all her duties in her stride, put her family first and became world known in her charity work.

We would then mourn her again, when aged 52, she died after a car crash. Many she had worked with throughout her life would attend her funeral including Princess Diana, Cary Grant and James Stewart who read a eulogy.

Grace, you gave us such delicate yet strong performances that showed us what a strong woman you were and what strong women we could be. You’re remembered even today for your fashion style and your beautiful hairstyle. You charmed audiences and the likes of James Stewart, Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra and all the other men you acted opposite. Not many other women retired from acting and had Alfred Hitchcock trying to persuade them back into the business.

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We leave you with a humorous clip from Grace’s last ever film, released in 1956, High Society.

Happy Birthday Well Did You Evah!

Wow we’ve made it a full year! (Okay maybe a year and a few days)

We did have big plans but because we left these plans a tad bit late we haven’t been able to fulfil them. Organisational skills are obviously not our strong point. We will however be bringing special things throughout the festive month of December as a thank you for you our lovely fans. We wouldn’t have made it this far without you!

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As part of our birthday celebrations we wanted you, our fans, to write for us. I also wanted to send chocolate reindeers to people but this idea was squashed in the early stages.

We’re also doing a special poll where you choose your favourite film, actor and actress of 2013 and which ever gets the most votes by the end of December will win. I was thinking we’d basically write a post on them. This all depends on you guys participating! So please get in touch on here or Facebook and we’ll get the poll started!

So lets all go eat cake, raise a glass of something nice and give three cheers for Well Did You Evah! A blog I am dead proud of and get to write about what I love for people who love reading about it. Here’s to another brilliant and fabulous year!

Here I’ll leave you to the song (and our namesake) Well Did You Evah from High Society. What A Swell Party It Is!

Happy Birthday Ol Blue Eyes!

Frank Sinatra. He really needs no introduction. Good Ol Blue Eyes broke many a lady’s heart, even after his death. Multi talented, beautifully handsome and a bad boy for some of his life this man really was the best of … Continue reading

What’s with the name? And what are we about?

Hey!

This is a blog set up by me and my sister to showcase art, films and musicals that we love! We both have a love for the old and nostalgic so get set to see it here.

We’ll be reviewing art exhibitions we go to all over the country and maybe some worldwide because we do travel a bit. We’ll also try and let you know about anything interesting that’s happening in the art world and any film festivals etc.

Most importantly we’re here to have fun and hope you enjoy reading what we write!

And if you haven’t guessed Well Did You Evah! is a song from the musical High Society. We recommend you have a watch… Who’d turn down a musical with Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Celeste Holm and Louis Armstrong in?

Do you have something to say? A film or exhibition you want the web to know about? Tell us! We’d love to hear from you!

Bye for now!