Entertainment, Movies and TV, Music

It’s “De-Lovely:” RWKJ Goes to the Movies

And today, I (can’t really sustain the Bob Dole mannerism of talking about myself in the third-person for more than the headline) heartily recommend an odd little movie from 19 years ago, one which celebrates the life of American composer and songwriter Cole Porter, born 131 years ago today, on June 9, 1891.

De-Lovely is based on Porter’s life, and uses a common literary trope, that of flashbacks in the mind of the central character as he lies on his deathbed.  He’s back in the little Indiana theater where he first performed onstage, and a cavalcade of (sometimes, it seems unlikely) modern stars just happen to be part of the production.

Porter married Linda Lee Thomas in December 1919.  Thomas, a 26-six-year-old divorcee at the time was aware that he was (at times) gay, but the two of them sustained an affectionate relationship (she suffered a miscarriage during their time together) until her death from emphysema in 1954. I think it’s true to say that she was “a love,” if not necessarily “the love” of his life.  For her, he provided safety, security, kindness and protection; For him, she provided an aura of social decency and protection of a different sort.

Cole Porter died in 1964 at the age of 73.  His musical output is among that of the greatest all-time-scions of Broadway and the movies. One of the videos embedded below shows Porter (portrayed in the movie by an almost unrecognizable Kevin Kline) suffering from an amputated right leg as a result of a twenty-year old injury from getting the worst of a fall from a horse in 1937.  Kline–who actually can sing–had to reel himself, in order to accurately portray Porter’s own, very indifferent, singing voice):

While it’s true that at some point in De-Lovely, “Nasty Woman” Ashley Judd (who portrays Linda Lee Thomas) sings “True Love” with Taylor Hamilton (whoever he is), I cannot bring myself to embed it here.  Sometimes, no matter how charming the go-round, only the original will do.

With that in mind, here are Grace Kelly and Bing Crosby.  Crikey.  Talk about steaming up the screen, without the slightest shred of apparent indecency:

Then there was this one (“bee-u-tee-ful”:

And this one:

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?  Me!  Please!

De-Lovely, indeed.


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