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Pal Joey

118 customer reviews

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(Dec 14, 1999)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Based on the hit Rodgers and Hart musical of the same name, PAL JOEY follows Joey Evans (Frank Sinatra, From Here to Eternity), a charming nightclub singer who is very popular with the chorus girls in his show. Joey has a comfortable relationship with Vera (Rita Hayworth, Gilda), a former dancer who is now a rich widow. But when Linda (Kim Novak, Vertigo) enters his life, Joey suddenly has to choose between convenience and something far more substantial.

First born in the pages of The New Yorker, then translated into a hit Rodgers and Hart Broadway musical, the title character of Pal Joey had undergone quite a transformation by the time he hit the movies in 1957. He was a singer, rather than a dancer, but more importantly he'd had his rough edges sweetly softened; the callous heel dreamed up by novelist John O'Hara was more of a naughty scamp in the film version. However, Pal Joey remains delightfully watchable for two very good reasons: a terrific song score and a surplus of glittering star power. Frank Sinatra, at the zenith of his cocky, world-on-a-string popularity, glides through the film with breezy nonchalance, romancing showgirl Kim Novak (Columbia Pictures' new sex symbol) and wealthy widow Rita Hayworth (Columbia Pictures' former sex symbol). The film also benefits from location shooting in San Francisco, caught in the moonlight-and-supper-club glow of the late '50s. Sinatra does beautifully with the Rodgers and Hart classics "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" and "I Could Write a Book," and his performance of "The Lady Is a Tramp" (evocatively shot by director George Sidney) is flat-out genius. Sinatra's ease with hep-cat lingo nearly outdoes Bing Crosby at his best, and included in the DVD is a trailer in which Sinatra instructs the audience in "Joey's Jargon," a collection of hip slang words such as "gasser" and "mouse." If not one of Sinatra's very best movies, Pal Joey is nevertheless a classy vehicle that fits like a glove. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Poster Gallery: Vintage advertising shots of theatrical one-sheets
  • Original "Hep Cat" Theatrical Trailer
  • Instant Access to All Songs

Product Details

  • Actors: Bobby Sherwood, Hank Henry, Barbara Nichols, Elizabeth Patterson, Frank Sinatra
  • Directors: George Sidney
  • Producers: Fred Kohlmar
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 14, 1999
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0767821807
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,082 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Pal Joey" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 4, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film is worth watching over and over again, if only to see Sinatra's rendition of "The Lady is a Tramp", which he sings with riveting style and musical finesse.

Based on a book and play by John O'Hara, it boasts some snappy dialogue and a fabulous Rodgers and Hart score, with songs like "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", "I Could Write a Book", "What do I Care for a Dame ?", "Plant You Now, Dig You Later", "Happy Hunting Horn" and "That Terrific Rainbow". Rita Hayworth does a sumptuous "Zip" (I love the way she uses her lavish Jean Louis gown in the number), and Kim Novak is absolutely stunning singing "My Funny Valentine". Novak was one of the loveliest and most underrated stars to ever grace the silver screen, and this was her second film with Sinatra, having done the dramatic "The Man with the Golden Arm" two years earlier.

The film only received some Oscar nominations (Art/Set Direction, Costume Design, Editing, Sound), but Sinatra did pick up a 1958 Golden Globe Best Actor/Musical-Comedy for his part as Joey, the womanizing, fast talking, con-man singer, who goes from town to town, leaving debts and broken hearts behind; Sinatra makes the most of the part, and one cannot imagine anyone else that could have played Joey to such perfection.

Terrific direction by George Sidney and choreography by Hermes Pan complement this trio of great stars and splendid music, with the backdrop of San Francisco and Harold Lipstein's cinematography.

Total running time is 109 minutes.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Paul on January 6, 2000
Format: DVD
I just recently bought the DVD of Pal Joey. I had never seen the movie before and didn't know what to expect. First, I'll comment on the DVD quality. The picture quality is beautiful, and trust me, you can't have it too clear to see the beautiful Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak, or the 1957 views of Frisco. The soundtrack is mono and causes one to wish that it was filmed in Dolby Digital stereo sound...but I guess we'll have to make do. Besides, if you are using a good sound system, the songs sung by Sinatra come to life magnificently. You will wish that he sang more in the film. His voice is at it's musical peak in 1957 and his artistry is staggering. Sinatra portrays the playboy role with a wonderful comic sense (he won a Best Actor Golden Globe) and you can't help but like him. Although the script is tame in comparison to recent films (Thank God!), it still insinuates plenty and is very coy and sexy. It has some very interesting camera work that gives it a modern feel, ex. : check out the angle that Sinatra is filmed at when he is singing Lady is a Tramp. All in all a wonderfully fun film, that looks terrific on DVD. I just wish they would hurry up and get more of the Sinatra catelog on DVD, especially Hole in the Head!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Gregor von Kallahann on May 24, 2003
Format: DVD
I've been trying to catch up on my old musicals lately. It's a genre I didn't quite grow up with and have always been a little ambivalent about. Never could get a handle of those "walking down the street and bursting into song" musicals. But PAL JOEY is not of that particular mold. Most of the songs are "natural," in the sense that Joey is a nightclub singer. Rita Hayworth's number, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" is the only number that doesn't take place in a club setting, but then again people in love have been known to sing to themselves in their boudoirs, so that's OK too.
Most of the reviews for this film stress the fact that the original Broadway play was considerably darker, and the main character much more of a louse than the cheeky nice guy Sinatra plays here. Given the era (the late 50s), this is hardly surprising, and it's easy to guess how the edgier theatrical version actually played, even if you don't know the "book."
Sinatra is fine as the cheerful heel Joey. Rita Hayworth and Kim Novak are lovely and sexy as rivals for Joey's affections. Character actors like Barbara Nichols and Hank Henry milk their smallish roles for all they're worth. Director George Sidney was a veteran of several classic musicals, including SHOW BOAT, TIL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY and THE HARVEY GIRLS, so he's on familiar turf here, and it shows.
The Rodgers and Hart score is great, but the numbers are not as many as you might hope. Still there's "My Funny Valentine," the aforementioned "Bewitched...," and, the highlight, Sinatra's definitive take "The Lady Is a Tramp." Well, worth 111 minutes of your time.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie De Pue VINE VOICE on January 17, 2008
Format: DVD
"Pal Joey," (1957), a dramatic musical romance, is a product of Harry Cohn's Columbia Studio, a fact easily gleaned by a quick glance at the movie itself; while it's in Technicolor, the colors themselves are not nearly so saturated as is the signature palette of rival Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios. The movie, as was common at the time, was based upon the 1940 Broadway hit of the same name that made a star of Gene Kelly. That play was based upon a series of fictional letters from "Your Pal Joey," written by noted American writer John O'Hara, and published in "The New Yorker." O'Hara wrote the play's book; Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart provided the all-grown up music; George Abbott produced and directed. The still knocking them dead Elaine Stritch created that nifty song "Zip," on Broadway, where it was given to "The Reporter," rather than the Vera Simpson character.

What was rather unusual about "Pal Joey" was that it took 15 years to get to the screen, owing to the fact that the play was more cynical, and risqué, than was permissible in Hollywood at the time. And a lot can change in 15 years. Anyway, the witty screen adaptation, somewhat sanitized, given a Hollywood happy ending, but still sailing pretty close to the wind, was by Dorothy Kingsley, nimble direction was by the under-appreciated George Sidney.

But the hard-edged director Billy Wilder was said to be Cohn's first directorial choice; they say studio mogul and director went to lunch to discuss it - and at the end of lunch, Wilder was not only not given the job, but was given the bill. Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth had impressed Cohn by their work together in the 1944 hit,"Covergirl," and the studio chief promised them another picture together, expected to be "Pal Joey.
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