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
All singing, all dancing, all star cast of thousands
I first saw this movie on TV in 1963. I was only 13 years old. What caused me to sit down and watch was the mention of Mel Torme in the opening credits. I had only just become favorably aware of this man's music but had never seen as much as a photo of him.
This was my first experience of 'The Musical' genre of film and I was enchanted from beginning to end. Well apart from the Mel Torme bit. I think we got more of Larry Hart looking miserable, and his mother looking out of the window (no doubt wondering when this party was going to end. It's 4am and she probably needed her beauty sleep) than we did of Mel.
I was stunned by the brilliant 'Slaughter On 10th Avenue' sequence. There was stuff like this available and yet kids my age were listening to the Beatles? What on earth was wrong with the world? And Lena Horne's out-standing performance of The Lady Is A Tramp just blew me away.
Plot? OK it was sanitized but I didn't know that at the time. Homosexuality was never mentioned back then. I just figured that anyone who would write a song like 'My Funny Valentine' would never score with the ladies.
"Your looks are laughable - unphotographable" Come on. You can't be serious?
I finally found this on DVD a few days ago and couldn't believe my luck. I had wanted to see it again ever since reading in Mel Torme's autobiography that he and Richard Rodgers had had a falling out over how to handle the vocals on 'Blue Moon'. Mel had wanted to go with the meaning of the lyrics, example 'you heard me saying a prayer... (pause) for someone I really could care for.
Rodgers had insisted that he stick with the rhyme, example you heard me saying a prayer for (pause) someone I really could care for.
Sorry, Dick, but I'm with Mel on that one.
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