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De-Lovely (2004)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 6 August 2004 (USA)
Inspecting a magical biographical stage musical, composer Cole Porter reviews his life and career with his wife, Linda.

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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Gabe
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Gerald Murphy
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Sara Murphy
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Monty Woolley
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L.B. Mayer
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Edward Thomas
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Bobby Reed
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Bill Wrather
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Boris Kochno
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Ellin Berlin
Harry Ditson ...
Dr. Moorhead
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Honoria Murphy
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Storyline

De-Lovely is an original musical portrait of American composer Cole Porter, filled with his unforgettable songs. In the film, Porter is looking back on his life as if it was one of his spectacular stage shows, with the people and events of his life becoming the actors and action onstage. Through elaborate production numbers and popular hits like "Anything Goes," "It's De-Lovely," and "Night and Day," Porter's elegant, excessive past comes to light - including his deeply complicated relationship with his wife and muse, Linda Lee Porter. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A love that would never die and music that would live forever.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

6 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Just One of Those Things  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$400,001 (USA) (2 July 2004)

Gross:

$13,337,299 (USA) (15 October 2004)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

André Schneider auditioned for the part that finally went to Kevin McKidd. See more »

Goofs

When Cole Porter is in the garden playing his piano and Linda comes back from being away, Cole stands and talks to her, and the cushion on the back of the chair falls down. As he sits down, the cushion is back in place. See more »

Quotes

Cole Porter: You were always my life-to-be.
Linda Porter: I remember that song.
Cole Porter: It was about you. They were all about you.
Linda Porter: Not all. But some I hope.
See more »

Connections

References Anything Goes (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

What is This Thing Called Love
(1929)
Performed by Kevin Kline
Music and Lyrics written by Cole Porter
Music Published by Warner Bros. Inc./Chappell & Co, Inc. (ASCAP)
Produced by Stephen Endelman and Peter Asher
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User Reviews

De-Lovely: De-Railed!
22 August 2004 | by (Florida) – See all my reviews

As a child of the '30s, I was immersed in Hollywood musicals I bit more than I appreciated. I loved [still do] good music, a clever lyric, a moving melody, with a good degree of tolerance for experimentation with the off-beat and planned discord of a Stan Kenton. Cole Porter always symbolized meticulous word-play wed to impeccable melodic phrasing.

From the opening scenes, the vehicle of "De-Lovely"'s presentation was both an annoyance and a distraction. Was this a bio trying to become a musical; or was it a musical trying to be a bio? While this last observation may be my own singular and subjective problem, I squirmed mentally as I tried to figure out whether the makeup artists wanted to make Kevin Kline look like an aging Jeff Daniels, or a real-time Carl Reiner?

It would be nearly impossible to destroy Porter's music; the quality is there regardless of the interpretation. However, the matching of score selection to fragments of Porter's life, professional development and composing venues is a tawdry hodge-podge, put together like a 1940s 7th grader who scores 37% on an American History matching-columns exam. Some of the costumes, stagings and vocals are ludicrous: the costuming and set design for the Venetian duet, two people who appear not to like each other or the fit of their costumes; and the feeble-voiced crooning of a "Mountie" [Nelson Eddy - sound alike]: NOT!

Then there is the presentation of Porter, the man [Kline] and his long-suffering wife [Ashley Judd, excellent with the role she's given]. We can accept the idiosyncratic behavior of genius; we can appreciate a reasonable degree of self-absorption; we can empathize with a free spirit, suddenly crippled and dependent on others. Mrs. Porter knew exactly what she was getting when she entered the marriage; and while we can empathize with her fraying patience, we might expect a bit more fire from a woman whose husband is presented as sexual and social gadabout concerned only with his own gratification, except when the deeper muse is upon him. Finally, there is the staged number with Louis B. Mayer, which itself, would make the MGM lion dyspeptic. Porter may have been an intellectual snob; and Mayer may have been a boorish bully, but Mayer wasn't stupid.

Even in its presentation of Cole's homosexuality, we are introduced to a trite parade of pretty boys; and, within this shallow presentation, we are expected to see deep, caring relationships. It's been years since I've read a Porter biography, but the viewer might better have been served by suggestion: a lone Porter, for example, headed for the city tenderloin, or a seedy bar down by the waterfront, with the camera fading without further graphic explanation. Porter's encounters weren't all that "pretty."

Ahhh, the music. For me there were three show-stoppers, among them Elvis Costello's "Let's Misbehave." My wife and I, both 21+ X 3 + a bunch. thoroughly enjoyed Sheryl Crowe's minor key and roving "Begin the Beguine." It was a refreshing treatment of a Porter standard, which, although cleverly composed and worded, had become cliché in its title and too rigidly fixed in its arrangements. Crowe tosses out her usually fragile vocalizing; shows her musicianship in her rendering, and best of all, sings and phrases as a mature woman, not a whining little girl. Whether the precise Porter would have approved, I can't say; but Crowe gives the song a well-deserved rebirth.

Best of all is the top-notch performance of "Let's Do It," by Alanis Morissette: her vibratto; her full-of-fun, carefree delivery; her meticulously clear enunciation of the fast-flowing words are superb. The lady nails it!

The movie is a terrible disappointment; but it's not the music that brings it down. It is the trivializing of a privileged, yet tragic life. Its sole salvation is the wedding of gifted contemporary vocalists, with priceless old standards; and it may bring about performance revitalization and longevity enhancement for both.


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