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This review is from: Pal Joey [DVD] (DVD)
Despite its Broadway success, Pal Joey took his time reaching the screen. Gene Kelly came to fame in the title role in the original Broadway production and was the logical first choice for the screen version, but when MGM would not lend him out the project sat on the backburner so long that his intended co-star Rita Hayworth swapped female roles to play the older woman who bankrolls Joey's club - on her terms - by the time the film finally reached the screen in 1957.
One of the few Columbia musicals that creates some of its own magic rather than trying to copy the RKO and MGM formula, Sinatra is so perfect as John O'Hara's heel that it is now impossible to imagine Kelly in the role. Not all of the Rodgers and Hart's songs are well served - some, such as I Didn't Know What Time It Was, are all but thrown away - but the score is a strong one (The Lady Is A Tramp, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, If They Asked Me I Could Write A Book ) and the film is one of the few successful Broadway-to-screen transfers of its day. Great dog too.
The only real extra on the DVD is the original five-minute trailer, but it's a gem. Filmed on the film's set, with Sinatra introducing us to Joey's vocabulary with the aid of a blackboard and ruler, it's terrific fun and a genuine collector's item! The US limited edition (3000 copies) region-free Blu-ray from Twilight Time also includes a featurette, Backstage with Kim Novak, an isolated score track and a booklet as well as superior picture quality.