Movie. De-Lovely, 2004.

Posted by T on September 21, 2006
By Title, Movies

This is a biography of Cole Porter, the great popular song writer of the first half of the 20th century.

The story is framed by a theater scene which sets up the rest of the movie as a flash-back, and the framing idea is rather clever.

This is not enough to rescue the story, however. The life of this debauched epicurean simply does not have enough appeal to make the “great tragedy” of his life seem very tragic. And there are images indicating Porter’s homosexuality that, though they keep it toned down enough for PG-13, are quite disturbing.

However, the songs are worked into the story in arrangements that often make them seem chic even to a modern ear. This is the value of the movie.

No doubt, Porter was a genius at both the catchy tune– often having true emotional development– and the clever lyric. Most of his songs were written for musicals (Kiss Me Kate being the apogee), but many also made it into the standard repertoir of crooners like Frank Sinatra.

The title comes from a line from one of the songs, “it’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.”

I recommend a viewing not because the story is great, but as an introduction into one aspect of 20th century culture: the pop culture of our grandparents.

But it is not a tedious view, like having to watch some documentary cuz it’s good for you. It will do better than that.


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