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Words and Music (1948)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 701 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 14 critic

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

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Title: Words and Music (1948)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Perry Como ...
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Tom Drake ...
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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:

M*G*M presents a spectacular musical, packed with the beloved hits of the famed song-writing team of Rodgers and Hart; their own story, with all the adventure, romance, high life of the Great White Way. See more »


Certificate:

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lena Horne's prerecording of "Where or When," a standard first heard in the 1937 Broadway show, "Babes in Arms," contains the verse, which was not used in the release print. Her complete rendition was first presented on the MGM Records soundtrack album. In the CD era, there are two offerings of Lena's full version: the soundtrack from Sony and a collection from Rhino, "Lena Horne at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer: Ain' It the Truth." See more »

Goofs

The party at which Lorenz Hart meets Peggy Lorgan McNeil takes place during the 1920s, yet the women at the party all are wearing dresses and hairstyles from the 1940s. See more »

Quotes

Richard Rodgers: That was really black Sunday for me. Shut out twice. Once because I was too young, once because I was too old.
See more »

Connections

Features Camille (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

This Can't Be Love
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
From the musical "The Boys from Syracuse" (1938)
Danced by Cyd Charisse and Dee Turnell with ballerinas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Hollywood bio is salvaged by some nice musical stars...
8 January 2004 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

If you have the patience to sit through one of Mickey Rooney's most frantic and hyperactive performances in which Larry Hart becomes a caricature, you'll be rewarded by some typically stylish MGM musical interludes with stars like Judy Garland, Lena Horne, June Allyson, Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen. Perry Como and Mel Torme both have a chance to warble a couple of Rodgers & Hart tunes too.

The musical numbers have the glossy MGM touch but the main storyline is diminished by allowing Rooney to chew so much scenery that he ends up resembling a frantic wind-up toy--and he's less than convincing when he attempts the heavier melodramatics of the final scenes. He throws the whole picture off gear and makes us yearn for the music to start so we can see cameo turns by MGM's roster of stars. His only good moment is a song routine with Judy Garland that he does in typical Rooneyesque manner.

By contrast, the restrained and natural performances of Tom Drake (as Richard Rodgers) and Janet Leigh (as the girl who becomes his wife Dorothy) are a welcome relief. Betty Garrett does well to in a supporting role as Rooney's highly fictional girlfriend.

The only musical number which failed to charm me was the routine given Ann Sothern for the Garrick Gaieties number. A weak song with even weaker choreography. All of the other numbers are done in high style, especially Judy Garland's solo on the "Johnny One-Note" song and June Allyson's delightful "Thou Swell". Lena Horne also gets a chance to strut her stuff with "The Lady Is A Tramp".

Fans of MGM musicals will love this one--with reservations, perhaps, about its inaccuracies and Rooney's sledgehammer acting. A more serious attempt to play Hart is sorely needed--preferably with another actor in the part.




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