Back to School (4): 55 Years Young
Arriving in theatres 55 years ago today, Pinehurst University in High Time (1960) is in the same Hollywood Ivy League as Huxley College in Horse Feathers and Pottawatomie College in Too Many Girls: institutions where a soupçon of education gets squeezed in between comedy, song and dance. Its cinematic curriculum allows for merry observations of an otherwise self-made mature mogul (Bing Crosby’s hamburger restaurant chain owner Harvey Howard) getting the college education for which he never had time, and some perhaps quaint but well-intentioned and family-friendly studies of that mainstay of many a movie of its era: the generation gap. Transition is everywhere: teens becoming educated adults, director Blake Edwards knocking out one more light comedy before going darker and deeper with his next three films Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Experiment in Terror (like High Time, also available on Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray) and Days of Wine and Roses, and leading man Crosby amiably easing out of the movie-star limelight into the “guest-star”/television phase of his career. Higher learning? You be the judge when the study group on view consists of Crosby, teen singing heartthrob Fabian, a pre-West Side Story Richard Beymer and a post-stage/pre-film of Flower Drum Song Patrick Adiarte. Representing the distaff side of the student body is an effervescent Tuesday Weld, although she made a much greater and sexier impact in subsequent years going back to high school in Lord Love a Duck and Pretty Poison. The score is by Composer Laureate Henry Mancini, well into his rewarding movie partnership with Edwards and facing a couple of Oscar®-winning semesters ahead. High Time has many abiding pleasures (co-stars Nicole Maurey, Gavin MacLeod and future Batgirl Yvonne Craig), all summed up by its Oscar®-nominated Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen song The Second Time Around. Second chances at education, love and happiness indeed certify the movie’s apt choice of title.