"Pal Joey" stars Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra and Kim Novak in a sophisticated musical comedy. Sinatra plays Joey Evans, a cabaret singer who romances wealthy socialite Hayworth into financing his own nightclub, but then falls for voluptuous chorine Novak. "Pal Joey" took 17 years to get to the screen. Based on a series of stories written as letters by John O'Hara for The New Yorker, the letters were all signed "Your Pal Joey" by a mythical dancer. O'Hara later adapted the stories as a book for the Broadway musical which starred Gene Kelly. When Columbia bought the film rights, studio chief Harry Cohn wanted Kelly for the lead and Hayworth for the younger role of Linda. But Kelly was already contracted to MGM and the project was shelved. At one time, Billy Wilder was interested in doing the picture-with Marlon Brando and Mae West-but the studio passed. It finally took the combined talents of Hayworth, Sinatra and newcomer Kim Novak to bring "Pal Joey" to the screen. The gossip columns were filled with stories of an impending battle over credits. Sinatra was at the height of his film popularity, but Hayworth's contract stipulated she receive top billing. The battle however, was never fought. Sinatra gladly took the second slot - "I don't mind being in the middle of that sandwich," he quipped. "Pal Joey" contains some of Rogers and Hart's best songs including "My Funny Valentine," and oneof Sinatra's biggest hits,"The Lady Is A Tramp." Hayworth's vocals were dubbed by Jo Ann Greer, Novak's by Trudi Erwin. "Pal Joey" was nominated for four Academy Awards (1957) for Art Direction-Set Decoration, Sound Recording, Costume Design (by Jean Louis) and Film Editing. Although "Pal Joey" was a huge commercial success, it would be Rita Hayworth's swan song for Columbia. The studio machine that had turned Margarita Cansino into the glamorous Rita Hayworth, would now turn its attentions to Chicago-born Kim Novak, the last in a long line of studio-made stars.
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