The Short-Lived Romance of Kim Novak and Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy and Kim

God Bless you, Vanity Fair

I’ve written quite a lot about classic Hollywood romances.

Some are tragic, others are straight out of a romance novel, this relationship, in particular, is intriguing for other reasons.

The pairing of Sammy Davis Jr. and Kim Novak is an underrated coupling – an interesting one, actually.

In 1957, a couple of weeks after Kim was finished shooting the greatest movie of all time, Vertigo, she stopped by her hometown of Chicago for a night out at Chez Paree.

The entertainment for that night? None other than the very charming Sammy Davis Jr.

According to this “Vanity Fair” piece on the matter, apparently – at first- Kim wanted to use Davis‘ flirtations as a way to get back at Harry Cohn for his mistreatment of her.

Eventually, she and Sammy fell into a cordial friendship, which saw them exchange numbers and midnight rendezvous hidden away from the public eye.

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What attracted Kim to Sammy wasn’t his race (of course that was part of it) but his stage presence. Much like my attraction to the internationally known k-pop band BTS, Sammy Davis‘ stage presence oozed sensuality.

With a cigarette in one hand and a ribbon microphone in the other, Davis crooned his way into the depths of Novak‘s heart.

So, they started dating.

Fully aware that their interracial relationship in 1957 could very well ruin both of their career’s, the pair had to keep it low-key.

For a couple of months, Sammy and Kim were in complete and utter bliss.

But they knew that inevitably the gossip columns (specifically Dorothy Kilgalen) would sniff around and get a whiff of what their relationship was giving off.

Once Kilgalen alerted the general public, other gossip columns started to jump on the speculation bandwagon.

That was the first gust of wind that knocked down their carefully crafted house of cards.

KIM AND SAMMY

Sadly, their relationship didn’t last too long after that.

They tried to continue their romance, by evading photographers, hiding in the backseats of cars, meeting behind closed doors, and just generally staying out of the public eye.

Between the press and Harry Cohn’s incessant harassment, Novak and Davis parted ways.


In 1957, America was still deeply segregated. Unfortunately, their relationship was a casualty of that toxic mindset.

If there were any classic Hollywood relationship that could’ve worked out, I wish it were this one. Not only would they have broken boundaries but, seeing an interracial couple on the covers on “Confidential” or “Photoplay” would’ve been a sight to see.

It truly is a shame.

If only we could go back in time.

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The Mesmerizing Colour Palettes of Oceans 11 (1960)

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source: Warner Bros

I’ve always had a fascination with Las Vegas – vintage Las Vegas in particular. Vegas always had this aura of mystery and secrecy to me.

Despite it being a popular tourist destination, I have always felt that ‘Sin City’ was reserved for gangsters, ruffians, and showgirls that were desperately looking to con you out of your money. That’s the thing about Vegas because it has this shiny facade of colors and wealth, we don’t see that seedy underbelly underneath all of the glitz and glamour.

Come to think of it, that’s the perfect way to summarize the 1960 heist film Ocean’s 11. Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and Angie Dickinson otherwise known as ‘The Rat Pack’, Ocean’s 11 is basically a 2-hour self-congratulatory movie made to showcase how awesome it is to robe few casino with 10 of your closest friends.

It’s a very enjoyable flick, don’t get me wrong. It’s so enjoyable that I even have this poster of the movie on my bedroom wall. The problem with Ocean’s is that it isn’t the best plot-wise. There tends to be a ton of moments in the film where there’s a lot of standing and talking, talking and standing. That would be great if it were a courtroom drama, but for an action-adventure picture, it gets tired very quickly.

That’s where the cinematography comes in.

What’s so great about Ocean’s 11 is the way it looks. The movie’s cinematographer William H. Daniels did such a fantastic job on this movie that the cinematography makes up for what the plot lacks. The vivid colors contrasted with the black backgrounds is something I would frame and put in my living room.

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

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source: Warner Bros

As you can see above, there are dozens of instances in the film where the contrasts of colors are breathtaking.

Even though I don’t necessarily enjoy certain aspects of the movie, the cinematography more than makes up for what the script is lacking.

That’s what so great about this movie. It’s fun, slow-paced and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you have the chance to watch it on TCM or buy it on DVD, it’s undoubtedly a great movie to cozy up with on a Saturday evening, paired with your favorite beverage and a nice bowl of popcorn.