[box cover]

Pal Joey

The years have been surprisingly kind to Pal Joey, Columbia's entertaining 1957 musical starring Frank Sinatra, Rita Hayworth, and Kim Novak. Sinatra plays a struggling nightclub singer who dreams of leaving the road and opening a club of his own, though his tendency to stretch the truth lands him in the middle of a love triangle with a rich widow (Hayworth) who has the power to make his dream come true, and a poor singer (Novak) who has nothing to offer but love. The story holds up quite well, despite performances which are occasionally a bit hammy. Novak is particularly good in a warm, sunny role that hints at the acting chops she'd display a year later in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. Even if the story weren't so much fun, the disc would still be worth owning for the stellar performances of such standards as "I Didn't Know What Time it Was," "My Funny Valentine," and a showstopping rendition of "The Lady is a Tramp." As usual, Columbia TriStar has provided a terrific video transfer from a very clean source print, with no visible artifacts to be found. The film is presented in both 1.85 widescreen and pan-and-scan, with English and Portuguese audio tracks (both mono). The disc also includes the hilarious theatrical trailer in which Sinatra lectures the audience on '50s slang so that viewers might better understand the movie's "hep cat" dialogue.
—Joe Barlow

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