Fictionalized story of the songwriting partnership of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (adaptation) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Summer Stock (1950)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small-town farmer, down on her luck, finds her homestead invaded by a theatrical troupe invited to stay by her ne'er-do-well sister.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The late, great impresario Florenz Ziegfeld looks down from heaven and ordains a new revue in his grand old style.

Directors: Lemuel Ayers, Roy Del Ruth, and 5 more credits »
Stars: William Powell, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Acrobat Eddie Marsh is in the army now. His first act is to become friendly with Kathryn Jones, the colonel's pretty daughter. Their romance hits a few snags, including disapproval from her... See full summary »

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly, Mary Astor
The Pirate (1948)
Adventure | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A girl is engaged to the local richman, but meanwhile she has dreams about the legendary pirate Macoco. A traveling singer falls in love with her and to impress her he poses as the pirate.

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Walter Slezak
Biography | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Biography of songwriter, Broadway pioneer, Jerome Kern. Unable to find immediate success in the USA, Kern sought recognition abroad. He journeyed to England where his dreams of success became real and where he met his future wife Eva.

Directors: Richard Whorf, Vincente Minnelli, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert Walker, Van Heflin, Lucille Bremer
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Talented small-town girl Lily Mars hounds producer John Thornway for a part in his new play, but he doesn't want anything to do with stage-struck amateurs. But when Lily follows him to New ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Taurog
Stars: Judy Garland, Van Heflin, Fay Bainter
Musical | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Two vaudeville performers fall in love, but find their relationship tested by the arrival of WWI.

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Judy Garland, George Murphy, Gene Kelly
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The Wolves baseball team gets steamed when they find they've been inherited by one K.C. Higgins, a suspected "fathead" who intends to take an active interest in running the team. But K.C. ... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Gene Kelly
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Tommy Williams desperately wants to get to Broadway, but as he is only singing in a spaghetti house for tips he is a long way off. He meets Penny Morris, herself no mean singer, and through... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Fay Bainter
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Jimmy Connors and his girl-friend want to take part in Paul Whiteman's highschool's band contest, but they cannot afford the fare. But per chance the meet Paul Whiteman in person and are ... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Paul Whiteman and Orchestra
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Leo Gogarty marries Margaud Morgan after a whirlwind romance just before shipping out to war. When he returns he is surprised to discover not only that his bride is not what she led him to ... See full summary »

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: Gene Kelly, Marie McDonald, Charles Winninger
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

D'Artagnan and his musketeer comrades thwart the plans of Royal Prime Minister Richelieu to usurp the King's power.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, June Allyson
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Edit

Storyline

Encomium to Larry Hart (1895-1943), seen through the fictive eyes of his song-writing partner, Richard Rodgers (1902-1979): from their first meeting, through lean years and their breakthrough, to their successes on Broadway, London, and Hollywood. We see the fruits of Hart and Rodgers' collaboration - elaborately staged numbers from their plays, characters' visits to night clubs, and impromptu performances at parties. We also see Larry's scattered approach to life, his failed love with Peggy McNeil, his unhappiness, and Richard's successful wooing of Dorothy Feiner. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

14 Stars! 22 Songs! 2 Love Stories! 14 Spectacular Scenes! See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 December 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ena tragoudi, mia zoi  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,799,970 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Judy Garland was scheduled only to sing with Mickey Rooney in this film, and producer Arthur Freed offered her $50,000 (or half of what she owed the studio for medical bills) to do one take. At the first public screening, the fans asked for more of her, so Freed offered her another $50,000 to do a second song. By the time her scenes were filmed, she had paid back the studio but had made nothing. See more »

Goofs

At the Hollywood party at Hart's home, he and Judy are singing a duet. Her dress is cinched with a belt in that scene, however, when she sings a solo just after that, the dress is beltless and her waist is a bit wider. Her hair is also longer than the previous scene. See more »

Quotes

Lorenz Hart: Miserable? Me? I'm always happy!
Dorothy Feiner Rodgers: No one's always happy.
Lorenz Hart: Alright, so I'm slightly miserable
See more »


Soundtracks

There's a Small Hotel
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
From the musical "On Your Toes" (1936)
Sung by Betty Garrett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Musical Moments Salvage Weak, Inaccurate Story and Dialogue
13 August 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

To describe the 1948 WORDS AND MUSIC as a "whitewashed" version of the famous song-writing team Rogers and Hart is a gross understatement. Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) was a homosexual in an era when such was flatly unacceptable; the pressures of the closet drove him into a wildly self-destructive alcoholism that ultimately killed him. Richard Rogers (1902-1979)was Hart's polar opposite, a highly disciplined individual who had zero tolerance for Hart's extremes. Their friendship and working relation was stormy, to say the least.

Needless to say, there was no way on earth that 1940s Hollywood could approach these facts. What we get instead is the story of the brilliant but glitchy Hart (Mickey Rooney) who is disappointed in love by singer Peggy McNeil (Betty Garrett), never gets over it, and falls apart as Rogers (Tom Drake) and his wife Dorothy (Janet Leigh) look on in dismay. It's pretty much a lot of pap, but fortunately for all concerned the movie gives us a lot of music along the way.

Most of the music is the form of cameos by a wash of MGM's musical stars. Perry Como has unexpected screen presence; Lena Horne, saddled with the excessive gesticulation and odd costumes typically inflicted upon her during her Hollywood years, still manages to give truly memorable performances of "Where or When" and "The Lady Is A Tramp;" June Allyson does a charming "Thou Swell;" Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen offer a memorable version of the jazz ballet "Slaughter on 10th Avenue." Other notables include Anne Southern, Cyd Charisse, and Mel Torme.

The big noise among the cameos is Judy Garland, who was battling MGM over withheld salary at the time and finally agreed to do two numbers to even out what the studio said she owed them. The result would be the final pairing of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in a motion picture, the two performing a charming duet of "I Wish I Were In Love Again," with Rooney clearly trying to break Garland up--and often succeeding. It's tremendous fun and followed by Garland's hard-belting and equally enjoyable "Johnny One Note."

Cameos aside, the primary cast is quite good with Rooney a stand out as Hart; one wonders at what performance he might have given if the script had been a no-holds-barred account. Granted, WORDS AND MUSIC is the sort film you watch for the musical moments rather than the plot--but when all is said and done it does what it does extremely well. Recommended, but primarily for musical fans.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


36 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page