Pal Joey (1957)

112 or 117 mins | Musical | December 1957

Director:

George Sidney

Producer:

Fred Kohlmar

Cinematographer:

Harold Lipstein

Production Designer:

Walter Holscher

Production Company:

Essex-George Sidney Productions
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HISTORY

Pal Joey was based on the John O'Hara novel of the same name (New York, 1940). Portions of the novel had previously appeared as a short stories in The New Yorker . According to a May 1957 LAT news item, Columbia purchased the screen rights to the O’Hara, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers play in 1941. In 1951, an Oct 1951 DV news item noted that Jerry Bresler was assigned to produce a film based on the play, which was to star Gene Kelly as “Joey,” the role he originated on Broadway. When Kelly’s studio, M-G-M demanded an exorbitant fee for his loan out, the project was shelved.
       The LAT news item notes that the project was then postponed for years due censorship problems in adapting the play to film. One of difficulties arose from the racy song lyrics. Several of the more suggestive songs--“In Our Little Den of Iniquity,” “Happy Hunting Horn,” and “Take Him (But Don’t Ever Take Him to Heart)”--were eliminated from the film. Three other songs with racy lyrics--
“You Mustn’t Kick It Around,” “Plant You Now, Dig You Later” and “Do It the Hard Way”--are heard in the film as instrumentals only. Although a May 1957 LAT article stated that the song "What Do I Care for a Dame?" was eliminated from the motion picture, Frank Sinatra performs it in the film. A Jan 1957 HR news item adds that some of the more suggestive lyrics from the stage production were toned down for the picture. The ... More Less

Pal Joey was based on the John O'Hara novel of the same name (New York, 1940). Portions of the novel had previously appeared as a short stories in The New Yorker . According to a May 1957 LAT news item, Columbia purchased the screen rights to the O’Hara, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers play in 1941. In 1951, an Oct 1951 DV news item noted that Jerry Bresler was assigned to produce a film based on the play, which was to star Gene Kelly as “Joey,” the role he originated on Broadway. When Kelly’s studio, M-G-M demanded an exorbitant fee for his loan out, the project was shelved.
       The LAT news item notes that the project was then postponed for years due censorship problems in adapting the play to film. One of difficulties arose from the racy song lyrics. Several of the more suggestive songs--“In Our Little Den of Iniquity,” “Happy Hunting Horn,” and “Take Him (But Don’t Ever Take Him to Heart)”--were eliminated from the film. Three other songs with racy lyrics--
“You Mustn’t Kick It Around,” “Plant You Now, Dig You Later” and “Do It the Hard Way”--are heard in the film as instrumentals only. Although a May 1957 LAT article stated that the song "What Do I Care for a Dame?" was eliminated from the motion picture, Frank Sinatra performs it in the film. A Jan 1957 HR news item adds that some of the more suggestive lyrics from the stage production were toned down for the picture. The following Rodgers and Hart songs from the 1930s were included in the film but were not performed in the Broadway version of Pal Joey : "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "There's a Small Hotel" and "My Funny Valentine.” In the film, the character of Joey was changed from a dancer to a singer and the setting was changed from Chicago to San Francisco. In addition, Joey’s character was softened by the inclusion of the last act in which Joey is reconciled with “Linda.” Various locations throughout San Francisco were utilized for the film, including Telegraph Hill, according to a May 1957 Var news item.
       According to an Apr 1956 HR news item, Barbara Stanwyck was considered for the role of "Vera Simpson." Although a Nov 1956 HR news item noted that Janis Paige was to perform in the "Zip" strip number, Paige does not appear in the released film. A Mar 1956 HR news item adds that if Sinatra had refused the role of Joey, Columbia studio chief Harry Cohn would have considered Kirk Douglas for the part. According to a May 1957 HR news item, Flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya coached Novak on some dance steps. A May 1957 HR news item noted that the film’s shooting schedule ran from noon until 8 p.m., a departure from the normal 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. schedule. The change was made to allow the cast to sleep later, thus improving their performances. Although a Jun 1957 HR news item stated that Jack Entratter, the general manager of the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, was to appear as an assistant head waiter at Chez Joey, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. HR news items and production charts add Charles Aldrich, Slim Duncan, Mark Power, and Cosmo Sardo to the cast, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Modern sources mention a wide variety of actors that were considered for various roles in the films, but this information has not been verified.
       Pal Joey marked the only production of Essex-George Sidney Productions, a production unit formed by George Sidney and Frank Sinatra. Pal Joey was nominated for the following Academy Awards: Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Recording. Sinatra won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Sep 1957.
---
Box Office
21 Sep 1957.
---
Daily Variety
4 Oct 1951.
---
Daily Variety
9 Sep 57
p. 3.
Film Daily
9 Sep 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Mar 1956
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Apr 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Nov 1956
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jan 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
8 May 1957
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1957
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1957
p. 2, 11.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Jun 1957
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Jun 1957.
---
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Sep 57
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 1957
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 May 1957.
---
Los Angeles Times
12 May 1957.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
14 Sep 57
p. 529.
New York Times
28 Oct 57
p. 30.
Variety
11 Sep 57
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Eddie Bartell
George DeNormand
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus supv and cond
Mus arr
Mus adpt
Mus adpt
Mus adv
SOUND
Rec supv
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Novak's dance coach
STAND INS
Singing voice double for Rita Hayworth
Singing voice double for Kim Novak
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical play Pal Joey , book by John O'Hara, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart, as produced on the stage by George Abbott (New York, 25 Dec 1940).
MUSIC
"You Mustn't Kick It Around," "Do It the Hard Way" and "Plant You Now Dig You Later," by Richard Rodgers.
SONGS
"I Didn't Know What Time It Was," "The Lady Is a Tramp," "There's a Small Hotel," "My Funny Valentine," "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "Zip," "I Could Write a Book," "Great Big Town," "That Terrific Rainbow," and "What Do I Care for a Dame?" music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart.
DETAILS
Release Date:
December 1957
Premiere Information:
New York, Chicago and Los Angeles premieres: 25 October 1957
Production Date:
15 April--21 June 1957
Copyright Claimant:
Essex-George Sidney Productions
Copyright Date:
1 December 1957
Copyright Number:
LP9470
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
1.85:1
Duration(in mins):
112 or 117
Length(in reels):
14
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

After he is thrown out of town for romancing the mayor’s underage daughter, nightclub singer Joey Evans travels to San Francisco in search of a job. Along strip club row in North Beach, Joey spots a poster advertising the appearance of his old friend, band leader Ned Galvin, at the Barbary Coast Club. At the club, Joey wangles a job from owner Mike Miggins when the club’s emcee fails to appear and Joey jumps onstage to engage the audience in patter and songs. After the show, Ned invites Joey and Linda English, a naïve young chorus girl who aspires to be a singer, to perform with the band that night at a charity event sponsored by Vera Simpson. When Joey recognizes the wealthy, widowed Vera as a former stripper, he embarrasses her by proposing that Vera perform one of her strip routines to raise money for the charity’s auction. Later that night, Ned and Joey walk Linda to her rooming house where Joey notices a room for rent sign in the window. After ascertaining from the sleepy landlady that there is a vacant room adjoining Linda’s, the womanizing Joey eagerly rents it. The next morning, Linda is surprised to find Joey pounding on her bathroom door. As the weeks pass, the fast working Joey romances most of the club’s chorus girls, whom he calls “mice.” Only the tough-talking Gladys and the wary Linda remain immune to his charms. Annoyed by Joey’s constant propositions, Linda tricks him into buying a small dog, which he names “Snuffy.” One night, to get even with Joey for embarrassing her, Vera comes to ... +


After he is thrown out of town for romancing the mayor’s underage daughter, nightclub singer Joey Evans travels to San Francisco in search of a job. Along strip club row in North Beach, Joey spots a poster advertising the appearance of his old friend, band leader Ned Galvin, at the Barbary Coast Club. At the club, Joey wangles a job from owner Mike Miggins when the club’s emcee fails to appear and Joey jumps onstage to engage the audience in patter and songs. After the show, Ned invites Joey and Linda English, a naïve young chorus girl who aspires to be a singer, to perform with the band that night at a charity event sponsored by Vera Simpson. When Joey recognizes the wealthy, widowed Vera as a former stripper, he embarrasses her by proposing that Vera perform one of her strip routines to raise money for the charity’s auction. Later that night, Ned and Joey walk Linda to her rooming house where Joey notices a room for rent sign in the window. After ascertaining from the sleepy landlady that there is a vacant room adjoining Linda’s, the womanizing Joey eagerly rents it. The next morning, Linda is surprised to find Joey pounding on her bathroom door. As the weeks pass, the fast working Joey romances most of the club’s chorus girls, whom he calls “mice.” Only the tough-talking Gladys and the wary Linda remain immune to his charms. Annoyed by Joey’s constant propositions, Linda tricks him into buying a small dog, which he names “Snuffy.” One night, to get even with Joey for embarrassing her, Vera comes to the club and flirts with him. As Joey begins to sing, however, Vera walks out without paying her bill and Mike fires him. Undeterred, the glib Joey strikes a deal with Mike: if Joey can convince Vera to return to the club by Saturday, he can keep his job. At the Simpson mansion on Nob Hill, Joey informs Vera that he has been fired because of her and intends to leave town. Afterward, when Linda tells Joey that she will miss him and Snuffy, he invites her to dinner and she accepts. At closing time that night, Vera, intrigued by Joey’s insolence, comes to the club, thus assuring that Joey will keep his job. After Joey sings an insulting song to her, Vera leaves with him and drives him to her yacht. There, Joey reveals his grand ambition to have his own club. When Joey suggests that Vera become his partner in “Chez Joey,” they seal the bargain with a kiss and Vera awakens the next morning with a smile on her face. Back at the rooming house, Joey tells Linda that he is moving up to Nob Hill. When Joey gives her Snuffy, Linda, angry and hurt at being stood up the night before, takes the dog and slams the door in Joey's face. Soon Joey hires the entire crew of the Barbary Coast to work at Chez Joey, the palatial Nob Hill club bankrolled by Vera’s money. After Joey promotes Linda to be the featured female singer in the show, however, Vera reminds him that she “owns him” and orders him to fire Linda. When Joey tries to manipulate Linda into quitting by demoting her to stripper, she deduces that Vera wants her fired and suggests that Joey change the name of the club to Chez Vera. That night, as Vera entertains her society friends at the mansion, Joey waits for her aboard the yacht. Rather than Vera, however, a drunken Linda stumbles onto the boat, kisses Joey and passes out. The next morning, Linda, ashamed of her behavior, thanks Joey for not taking advantage of her. After they tenderly kiss, Linda agrees to perform the striptease. At the rehearsal before opening night, Vera walks in just as Linda is doing her striptease. When the men in the audience begin to leer at Linda, Joey, unable to stomach her degradation, tells her to put on her clothes and sing a love song instead. Furious, Vera threatens to close the club unless Joey fires Linda. After Joey declares that “no one owns Joey but Joey,” Vera shutters the club and Joey, for the first time in his life, gives up his dream to preserve his integrity. When Linda pleads with Vera to reopen the club, Vera comments that Joey must be in love with her because he insisted that she keep her clothes on. Vera then implies that she might consider reopening the club if Linda would leave town. Later, as Joey packs his bags aboard the yacht, Vera appears and says she has changed her mind. When Vera suggests they get married, Joey replies that he will always be a bum and that marriage would not transform him into an honest man. Later, at the darkened Chez Joey, Joey reflects on what might have been. As he walks out of the club onto the sidewalk, Vera and Linda drive up in Vera’s car. Linda and Snuffy then jump out and Linda asks Joey if she can go with him. When Joey warns her to get out while she still has a chance, Linda looks forlorn and Joey kisses her. As they walk off together, Linda suggests that they bill their new act as Joey and Linda Evans. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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