Higher and Higher (film)

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Higher and Higher
Theatrical poster
Directed byTim Whelan
Produced byTim Whelan
Written byMusical:
Gladys Hurlbut
Joshua Logan
Jay Dratler
Ralph Spence
Add'l dialogue:
William Bowers
Howard Harris.
StarringMichèle Morgan
Jack Haley
Frank Sinatra
Music bySongs:
Jimmy McHugh (music)
Harold Adamson (lyrics)
Constantin Bakaleinikoff
CinematographyGene Milford
Edited byRobert De Grasse
Distributed byRKO
Release date
  • January 1, 1944 (1944-01-01) (US[1])
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$2 million[2][3]

Higher and Higher is a 1944[1] musical film starring Michèle Morgan, Jack Haley, and Frank Sinatra (in his film debut), loosely based on a 1940 Broadway musical written by Gladys Hurlbut and Joshua Logan. The film version, written by Jay Dratler and Ralph Spence with additional dialogue by William Bowers and Howard Harris, diverges significantly from its source.

The film has songs by Jimmy McHugh (music) and Harold Adamson (lyrics), as well as one song by Rodgers and Hart, "Disgustingly Rich," that remains from the stage production.


The household staff of millionaire Cyrus Drake hasn't been paid for months when his bankruptcy is announced. With the wife and daughter of Cyrus on a long trip abroad, a scheme is formed to pass off the attractive young maid Millie as the socialite daughter, Pamela Drake, and marry her off to a rich man so there'll be money for all.

The valet, Mike O'Brien, helps with the transformation, unaware that Millie is secretly in love with him. Asked if she'd ever been courted, Millie mentions that she likes the way a young man next door sometimes sings to her. His name is Frank.

The social secretary Sandy begins to teach Millie the proper etiquette and how to walk and talk like a debutante. At a coming-out ball, where Georgia Keating, a high-society friend of the Drakes, wants her daughter Katherine to be considered the most desirable deb, Millie is nudged toward Sir Victor Fitzroy, a nobleman she should marry.

No one there knows Victor can't even pay his hotel bill. He's hoping to catch a rich girl to pay off his own debts. Millie isn't in love, but agrees to marry him for everyone's sake. Mike mistakenly thinks she's in love with Frank, so he helps Millie get out of the wedding at the last minute. To his surprise, Frank ends up paired up with Katherine, which frees Mike and Millie to finally begin their romance.

Main cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Higher and Higher marked the second of Sinatra's forty-plus film roles.[4] (His first was in the film Reveille with Beverly, in which he played himself.)


The film made a profit of $780,000.[5]


The film was nominated for a 1945 Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for the song "I Couldn't Sleep a Wink Last Night", and also for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture for Constantin Bakaleinikoff.


  1. ^ a b AFI: Higher and Higher Linked 2013-07-17
  2. ^ a b HOLLYWOOD SPREADS ITSELF By FRED STANLEY HOLLYWOOD.. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 Feb 1944: X3.
  3. ^ "Top Grossers of the Season", Variety, 5 January 1944 p 54
  4. ^ "Frank Sinatra - The Early Years Collection : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  5. ^ Richard B. Jewell, Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures, Uni of California, 2016

External links[edit]