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
In the marketplace, Judy Garland had two discs of the comically cynical "I Wish I Were in Love Again" - the first recorded at her final Decca session on November 15, 1947, a solo accompanied by the husband-and-wife piano duo, Eadie and Rack; Judy's second on MGM Records, her soundtrack duet with Mickey Rooney, prerecorded on May 28, 1948. Judy's Decca side can be compared to an alternate take on her CD box set from MCA, "The Complete Decca Masters (Plus)." The Rooney-Garland match-up shines on two CD releases: the soundtrack from Sony, along with a Rhino collection, "Romantic Duets From M-G-M Classics." See more »
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 »
Among the leading cast of "Words and Music" are 5 fine talented performers who posed great problems for future casting. They're all ideally presented here to utilize their best assets.
The stars are Tom Drake, Betty Garrett, Marshall Thompson, Perry Como and Lena Horne. All super-gifted, providing they're given the right forum.
Drake was forever the "boy next door," and his charming, naive persona was seldom as well used as here and in "Meet Me in St. Louis." Garrett had a great personality and contralto voice, who was seldom allowed to show her full potential.
Thompson was the perfect supporting player but, like Tom Drake, limited to lightweight parts which came few and far between.
Como and Horne, while superstars as singers and entertainers, were likewise limited to "specialties" in films rather than leading roles. Como went on to star in his own tv show, which lasted for many seasons. But Horne represented a truly great talent who was wasted in terms of future acting roles and other musical offerings.
They're all presented in "Words and Music" in their element, and come across beautifully. Other stars are well featured in this fictionalized and Hollywoodized bio of two great songwriters, Rodgers and Hart.
What wonderful music this collaboration rendered musical theater, and this film preserves many of their best numbers.
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