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26 user 10 critic

Higher and Higher (1943)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | December 1943 (USA)
With their employer bankrupt, servants scheme to marry maid Millie to a rich husband. But Frank Sinatra lives across the street...

Director:

Tim Whelan

Writers:

Jay Dratler (screen play), Ralph Spence (screen play) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michèle Morgan ... Millie Pico (as Michele Morgan)
Jack Haley ... Mike O'Brien
Frank Sinatra ... Frank
Leon Errol ... Cyrus Drake
Marcy McGuire ... Mickey
Victor Borge ... Sir Victor Fitzroy Victor
Mary Wickes ... Sandy Brooks
Elisabeth Risdon ... Mrs. Georgia Keating
Barbara Hale ... Katherine Keating
Mel Tormé ... Marty (as Mel Torme)
Paul Hartman ... Byngham (as Paul and Grace Hartman)
Grace Hartman Grace Hartman ... Hilda (as Paul and Grace Hartman)
Dooley Wilson ... Oscar
Ivy Scott Ivy Scott ... Mrs. Whiffin
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

THE SINATRA SHOW


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1943 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cada vez más alto See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

RKO purchased the rights to the play for $15,000, specifically to star Frank Sinatra, and the four songs he sings by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson were written to accommodate his singing style. He was billed third because the contracts with Michèle Morgan's and Jack Haley's prevented higher billing. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Cyrus Drake: Would you say I was inebriated last night?
Byngham: Oh no, sir. Although you did have Whiffen cook you six pancakes and you spent an hour trying to play them on the Victrola.
Cyrus Drake: Mmm...how'd they sound?
Byngham: Much better after you put the syrup on.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Magnavox Presents Frank Sinatra (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No.6 in B Minor (Pathétique), Op.74
(1893) (uncredited)
Written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
First movement played on piano by Victor Borge with an orchestra joining as background music
Then played while Frank Sinatra sings "Lovely Way to Spend an Evening"
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Playing Himself Just Like Bing Did
11 February 2007 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Higher and Higher was one of Rodgers&Hart's lesser Broadway musicals it only had a run of 84 performances on Broadway in 1940. Yet it yielded one of their bigger hits It Never Entered My Mind.

Nevertheless except for one minor song, So Disgustingly Rich, the entire Broadway score was scrapped when RKO bought the film rights. Instead a whole new score by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson was written, mostly to accommodate one Francis Albert Sinatra who was making his feature film debut.

Sinatra who had done some vocal cameos in previous films, takes a leaf from the page of his singing rival Bing Crosby. When Bing did his feature film debut in The Big Broadcast, he played Bing Crosby. Frank Sinatra took on the role of Frank Sinatra and I can't think of anyone who could have done a better job.

The Chairman of the Board is billed third here behind stars Jack Haley and Michele Morgan. He's the butler and she's the scullery maid to Leon Errol. In fact Errol is a millionaire who hasn't paid his help for seven months. Mainly because he's about to go belly up into chapter 11 or so he informs the staff.

Errol's a delightful old soul to work for and none of the staff want to lose a good thing. They pool their resources and get Michele Morgan to impersonate Errol's daughter who's over in Switzerland with her mother. The idea being to snag a rich bankroll in the hopes rescuing the family fortune. Only Michele starts looking at another.

It's a slight plot and certainly no worse than a whole lot of musicals, but RKO invested this film with a good cast of players. Barbara Hale and Elizabeth Risdon play another débutante and her mother who suspect something's not right, Victor Borge is a fortune seeking no account, Dooley Wilson, Paul Hartman, Grace Hartman, Marcy McGuire, Mel Torme and Mary Wickes, play others of the Errol household staff. Not a bad bunch at all.

Sinatra sang three good ballads all of them had some kind of commercial success, The Music Stopped, A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening, and I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night. The last one was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song, but lost to Alice Faye's You'll Never Know.

1943 was the year of the Musician's Union Strike against the recording industry. To get their material out, Frank Sinatra recorded the songs from Higher and Higher with an acapella chorus for Columbia. Bing Crosby recorded songs from his film Dixie in the same manner for Decca. Both of them were denounced by the president of the union, James C. Petrillo as strikebreakers and both did not cross the picket line again. The strike wasn't settle completely until 1944 although Decca broke ranks earlier from the other record companies and settled earlier than Columbia, RCA Victor and the others.

The strike provided some anxious moments for Sinatra. He had just left the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra when the strike was called. It closed off a needed venue for his artistry when he wasn't sure whether leaving Dorsey would prove to be a right career move.

Fortunately Higher and Higher was received well a legend was launched.


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