This evening we watched the 1956 musical film, High Society. The music and lyrics, whether by Cole Porter or Louis Armstrong, and the singing (Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra much to the fore) were all as wonderful as I had remembered them. The film was also memorable for Grace Kelly’s last performance before she became a real-life princess (and she also made a respectable debut in the film as a singer). But what struck me most about the film this time was its pathetically flimsy plot and the obscenity of the life it portrayed. Set among the industrialists’ and financiers’ villas on Rhode Island, the story is about love and marriage among the rich and their offspring. There is not even a hint of social satire. They go through life drinking cocktails (there is much of that in John Cheever’s stories from that period also), smoking cigarettes, quaffing champagne and getting changed for dinner. In short, the whole thing is simply a vehicle for the stars and their voices, as ephemeral as the gas in their champagne bubbles. I was about to write that you couldn’t get away with that nowadays, and then I thought of Mamma Mia! That’s probably unfair. The latter has quite a lot of plot (however improbable) and not all of its stars can sing!