Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Higher and Higher was advertised by RKO Radio as "The Sinatra Show", and small wonder: In his first major film role, Frank Sinatra was easily the film's biggest box-office draw. Actually, Frankie was a last minute addition to the film, which began as a traditional adaptation of a popular Broadway musical. Repeating his original stage role, Jack Haley plays Mike, the head servant in the household of millionaire Mr. Drake (Leon Errol). When Drake faces bankruptcy, Mike rallies the servants together and cooks up a moneymaking scheme: they'll pass off pretty scullery maid Millie (Michele Morgan) as Drake's daughter, and marry her off to a wealthy bachelor. Complicating matters is Sir Bictor Fitzroy Victor (Victor Borge), an impoverished nobleman who is himself looking for a rich wife. Mike saves the day with a last-minute discovery in the wine cellar, but not before a series of hilarious and tuneful plot twists involving Millie, heiress Katherine (Barbara Hale), and hired help Mickey (Marcy McGuire) and Marty (Mel Torme). Hastily written into the proceedings as Drake's next door neighbor, Sinatra croons several standards-to-be, including "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night" and "This is a Lovely Way to Spend an Evening"; he also is arbitrarily permitted the film's closing shot, emerging from heavenly clouds like the Second Coming of Music. Thanks to the film's enormous box-office take, everybody was happy with Higher and Higher--except Jack Haley, understandably miffed that his onetime starring role was whittled down to a supporting part to allow more screen time for the estimable Mr. Sinatra.
con/scam, deception, marriage-of-convenience, millionaire, servant, wealth