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Formerly rich Mr. Drake is broke...with his household staff's wages seven months in arrears. Conniving valet Mike O'Brien hatches a scheme to pass off scullery maid Millie as Drake's debutante daughter and net a rich husband for the benefit of all. But all kinds of complications, romantic and otherwise, intervene...Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First film for Frank Sinatra under a new seven-year contract at RKO that obligated him to make two pictures per year. However, he would only make one more film for the studio, Step Lively (1944) before moving to MGM. See more »
During the song "when it comes to love you're on your own" (c.62 minutes) the doorways have no panes of glass in them on the lower rows, as the house staff join in the song. See more »
As a lover of all kinds of music spanning many era's, I can safely say that Frank Sinatra is far and away my personal favourite and arguably the best male vocalist of all time.
When Higher and Higher was made back in 1944, Sinatra was still working on his craft. He had a typical 1940's Big Band voice, no different really from the likes of Ray Ebberly, Johnny Desmond or Dick Haymes but he was better in many ways. He had yet to develop his own distinctive sound which would become instantly recognisable and would eventually make him the singing sensation of the 20th century.
Yet in this largely forgettable romantic comedy, the tools are there and you are starting to see the true craftsman at work.
Sinatra played himself, which I thought was a mistake as the love stories would have worked better if he was in character and completely detached from his true self. At the time Frank was happily married to his first wife and was already the father of two, yet the script announces his engagement to the lovely Barbara Hale (of Perry Mason fame.) Obviously RKO thought very little of unimportant crimes such as bigamy.
Despite these flagrant liberties taken with Frank's personal life, the film is redeemed as he is given perfect chance to prove to us just why he was the most popular singer of the war years with powerful ballads like, 'I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night,' and, 'A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening.'
What was a double treat for me was that another one of my all time favourite singers also featured in the cast. Mel Torme was an excellent artist but, 'The Man with the Velvet Voice' was not really given much opportunity in this vehicle to show us what a great singer he really was.
However despite the great songs expertly executed by the man himself, and excellent performances by the entire cast, nothing seems to rescue this film from drab dullness.
I think it's main failing was a rather weak and transparent plot, but hell..... if it past a dreary hour or so and took your mind off the horrors and reality of the war, then it had done what it had set out to do.
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