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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
The device of using a mystical figure showing Cole Porter a retrospect of his life is just too stagey for a movie. Plus it's been done so many times before that it's trite.
The story line omits the struggle that Porter endured when he began composing professionally, when his melodies and lyrics were too original and too sophisticated for the public at the time.
For anyone who knows Porter's biography, you'll see how highly fictionalized this film is. In today's world, when the unvarnished truth about a person's life can be told, why must this film hold back? Why must dates, events, people and places be altered? Porter didn't "swing both ways". He was a ravenous homosexual. The story line of the Porters devotion to each other was pure hogwash. She was his willing beard at a time when a man needed a female escort for appearances. Obviously the, filmmakers felt that Porter's life had to be sanitized for the public.
It irks me to see songs taken out of chronological order and out of the context of the shows for which they were written. Two examples: at the beginning of the film, Porter is singing "Well Did You Evah?" as though the song were written in the 1920s, when it was composed much later; and singing "You'd Be So Easy To Love" to Linda in a Paris park, when that song was written for the film "Born To Dance" (1935), many years later.
The casting is wrong. As much as I like Kevin Kline, a 57-year-old actor (at the time) playing a 25 or 35-year-old Porter is just unbelievable. There is no amount of make-up that could make Kline look 25 or 35, or hide his sagging 50-ish jowls and neck. Furthermore, Porter was a small man and Kline is reputedly 6'2". This is like having Tom Selleck portray Danny DeVito.
Maybe someday someone will make a true biographical film about Cole Porter.
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