Sunday, December 13, 2009


A Hole in the Head (1959) Comedy directed by Frank Capra. Cast: Frank Sinatra, Edward G. Robinson, Eleanor Parker, Keenan Wynn, Carolyn Jones, Thelma Ritter, Dub Taylor and Joi Lansing. The song in the film "High Hopes", was the song used as a John F. Kennedy campaign song. Wynn plays a character based on Walt Disney who agrees to go into a partnership with Sinatra's character to build an amusement park in Florida. The screenplay was written by Arnold Schulman. The hotel used for some of the scenes was the Cardozo Hotel, located on Miami Beach's Ocean Drive. The hotel was once owned by Gloria and Emilio Estevan.

Tony Manetta, a widower with an eleven-year-old son, moved from the Bronx to Miami Beach hoping to make it big. He lives like a high roller but in truth is in danger of losing Garden of Eden Hotel. The bank gives him forty-eight hours to come up with the money he owes in back payments, Tony calls his brother Mario in New York to ask for a $5,000 loan. Mario, who looks down on his brother's lifestyle, says "no". Desperate Tony lies to his brother and says that his son Ally, is sick. Concerned about her nephew Sophie tells her husband he should fly down to Miami. Mario, offers to help Tony open a five-and-dime store if he settles down and gets married.

Tony worried that his son might have to live with his brother agrees to meet a widow friend of Sophie's, Mrs. Eloise Rogers. Tony then explains to his bohemian girl friend that he is just doing this for his brother and promises to take her on a romantic get away.

When Mrs. Rogers arrives at the hotel, Ally hopes that Tony will marry her, but when Mario reveals his plan to set her and Tony up in a five and dime store, then rudely asks if her deceased husband left her any money, Mrs. Rogers wants no part of the plan. Tony runs after her and after a little smooth talking (Frank Sinatra style) and they decide to go to her place for dinner. While having dinner, Mrs. Rodger's talks about the accidental drowning deaths of her husband and son. Tony, feeling a little guilty admits that he only agreed to meet her so that Mario would loan him money. Mrs. Rogers invites him to stay any ways. When Tony returns to the hotel and says he had a wonderful time, Sophie and Ally are happy, but Mario, not trusting his brother, still is slow to give him any money until he opens the five and dime store himself.

Tony is invited to a high rollers party at the Fontainebleau Hotel by his old friend Jerry, who is now has come into money. At the party, Tony tells Jerry about his dream of buying property and building a Florida Disneyland. Tony believes that Jerry might be interested in investing so he plans to meet him at a dog track to talk about his ideas.

Needing money quick to look like a big shot, Tony sells his Cadillac convertible for $500. At the track, when Jerry and his beautiful girl friend Dorine each bet $500 on a dog, Tony is able to match their bets. His dog comes in a winner and his winnings are enough for him to make up his payments on the hotel. He can not believe his luck and calls Ally. When Mario hears the good news, he is not happy that Tony can go on with his plans without his help. Later, Tony makes another bet on a dog by the name of "Lucky Ally". The dog loses. Now what will happen to Tony's Hotel and his son?

 Video: High Hopes.


Joi Lansing, played an uncredited role in, Singin' in the Rain.

She received top billing in Hot Cars (1956).

In the opening sequence of, Touch of Evil (1958), she performed as Zita, the dancer who dies at the end of the famous first tracking shot, during which her character says to a border guard, "I keep hearing this ticking noise inside my head!"

Lansing had a brief role as an astronaut's girlfriend in the 1958 sci-fi classic Queen of Outer Space.

During the 1950's, she performed in short musical films for the Scopitone video-jukebox system. Her songs included "The Web of Love" and "The Silencers".

Lansing played "Lola" in Marriage on the Rocks (1965) with Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, and Dean Martin.

One of her last films was Bigfoot (1970).


  1. "High Hopes" became an anthem of sorts for the Philadelphia Phillies this past season. Their longtime play-by-play announcer, Harry Kalas, was famous for singing this in hotel bars, and eventually it got to the point where he would sing it at Citizens Bank Park after big Phillies wins -- including the 2008 World Series triumph. Harry passed away in April, a week into the season, and the Phillies honored him in a number of ways, including playing this after every home victory. The Phillies repeated as National League champions in 2009, though they lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

  2. Vincent,thank you for the wonderful "HIGH HOPES" was really nice that the Phillies did that for Harry Kalas. Sorry to hear they lost the World Series.

  3. Dawn, I remember singing the song (which won an Oscar) when I was a kid in grade school. When I finally saw the movie, it was very different from what I expected based solely on the song!

  4. Rick, I also remember singing the song in grade school. I think I had the same experience as you.


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