HIGH TIME —-middle-aged restaurant millionaire Bing Crosby goes back to college to get a degree, rooms with hep-cats Fabian and Richard Beymer. He finds out the young generation is swell, they find out gramps is no square, and by the time time you’ve gaped your way through the first 20 minutes you’ll be able to write a term paper on how this fluff was old hat when it came out in 1960, let alone after decades of rioting, war, free love, cheap highs and better movies. Surprisingly, the dated material came from the normally aplomb Garson Kanin.
The dialogue and situations may have garnered a few laughs back in the days of Grover Cleveland, but the snickers now are the unkind kind, from observing how Bing’s ears arc out from his head. His voice is put to good use, at least, singing “The Second Time Around”, another winner from Cahn-Van Heusen. It drew an Oscar nomination (losing to “Never On Sunday”) and Der Bingle’s hipster rival Frank Sinatra batted a homer with his cover of the number.
Tuesday Weld is the love interest for the boys, while Nicole Maurey fills that blank for the coasting Crosby, who is supposed to be ‘nearing’ fifty in the script, but was a looks-it 57 in real human terms. Fabian is pleasant (big year for him at 17—just graduated high school, a batch of pop charters in play and the hit John Wayne comedy North To Alaska). Beymer was 21 and dorkish ( the duty of The Diary Of Anne Frank behind him, the glory of West Side Story not yet released). Weld, also 17, shows her usual smart sparkle, even with subpar material, and also on hand is that minx Yvonne Craig, a relatively ancient 23.
Directed with little pizzazz by Blake Edwards, sandwiched between his smashes Operation Petticoat and Breakfast At Tiffany’s, this 103-minute walnut cost $2,815,000 to graduate, and got a C- grade of $7,100,000 back, placing 41st for the year. With Patrick Adiarte, Jimmy Boyd and Gavin MacLeod, two years into his movie career at 29, with major TV fame a decade in the future.