Artwork By Chloe
Depictions of extreme wealth in media has flourished in most recent years, with reality tv shows focusing on reckless young spenders in ample supply (the Kardashians/Made in Chelsea/MTV’s Cribs/Lauren Greenfield’s Queen of Versailles to name a few). My belief is that this morbid fascination (which I unfortunately cannot exclude myself from) with a kind of excessive wealth that we, mere normal folk, can only dream of began with Charles Walters’ ‘High Society’. Released in 1956 the film, one I hold close to my heart, follows the Lord family in the lead up to Grace Kelly’s wondrous socialite Tracy Samantha ‘s wedding. Throw in her charming divorcee whom still is hung up on her, a couple of news reporters, a fake Uncle Willy, a swell party, an alcohol and cold feet fuelled moonlit swim and LOUIS ARMSTRONG and we have a film that has provided entertainment for me my whole life.
The characters are extravagant and silly and I love them as people I have known all my life. It’s a great story with beautiful 50s design and extravagant locations. The music is super super good-the opening scene with Louis Armstrong and his band travelling to Bing Crosby’s Rhode Island estate, performing the “High Society Calypso” in the back of the bus sends overwhelming shivers of joy through my body!
Being one of my Dad’s favourites and potentially the only film on my iPod that doesn’t go out of sync, I have watched High Society countless times. It’s where I picked up the unrelenting use of the word “swell” and a love of jazz (Armstrong, Sinatra and Crosby in one film!!!!) and yes, a morbid fascination with the super-rich. It is a film I have yet to become bored of, instead being something of fondness that consistently will raise my spirits.