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
Many scenes in the film are actually one continuous shot. The scene where Cole is visiting the gentleman's club during the song "Love For Sale" is a good example. The scene is supposed to be representing three different times where Cole was in the club. Most of the dancers are costume personnel who would perform costume changes on other actors and themselves and then walk back into the shot. Even the singer changes hair pieces and earrings in this shot. See more »
Scenes showing Cole Porter musicals being produced on Broadway in the 1930s show African-American and white women dancing together in the chorus lines. Broadway chorus lines weren't racially integrated until the 1970s. See more »
Hello, Cole. I let myself in.
We're not late, are we? I hate to be late.
No, no. We're fine. That sounded lovely.
I hate funeral music. Though, under the circumstances, I suppose I should say my prayers.
Why start now?
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'Delovely' is alas a disappointment. I looked forward to this movie, I had high hopes for it and it was disheartening to get a film that was so incredibly unsophisticated- the antithesis of its subject. I've been singing and playing Cole Porter's music on the piano for fifteen years now as well as listening to his songs done by greats like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. I didn't have much knowledge of the man himself. To my great delight I found a CD recently called 'You're The Top: A Testimonial' which is a live recording of a dinner gathering at the University of Southern California in 1967 to commemorate the opening of the Cole Porter Library. Among the guests that evening were none other than Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Ethel Merman, Alan Jay Lerner, Gene Kelly and Jimmy Stewart. They talk candidly about their experiences with Porter and also sing a few of his songs. For Sinatra fans I highly recommend this CD for Frank sings several intimate tracks with just Roger Edens on piano to accompany. One can learn more about Cole Porter from this CD then the entirety of 'Delovely'.
I can't understand why with the talented people involved with this film the end result is so cinematic ally clichéd and dull. The screenplay's structure simply misses. First of all, there's somewhat of a contradiction in Cole Porter's lyrics and the life he lead. His songs are clever, intricate entertainment. His life was a whole 'nother story put together and thus to imply that every one of his songs were inherently autobiographic and profound windows into his psyche is a misuse of the music. That's why the songs as employed here are all a dissonant fusion of Porter's delicate, lyrical greatness and the rough, mediocrity of such contemporary voices as Alanis Morrissette and Sheryl Crow. The songs aren't allowed to beam in their true nature and are forced to carry all this mysterious exposition- most of which is historically inaccurate. One example is how the movie uses the song 'True Love' to depict the seeming duality Porter had in his feelings towards Linda and his 'other life', shall we say. In actuality the song wasn't written until around 1957 when Porter, in conference with Saul Chaplin, the Associate Musical Director for the film 'High Society', was asked to create a song that sounded 'old fashioned'.
I wish somebody would explain to me why Hollywood bothers to make these 'biopics' if they aren't really interested in the subjects. What's amazing about 'Delovely' is how Jay Cocks's screenplay manages to make Porter's life less interesting or dramatic. I imagine Porter's life was filled with so many swellagant, jet set parties and countless interesting anecdotes. I was just reading one in the New York Sun involving Cole, Truman Capote and an airline steward. Porter's homosexual liaisons had to be a trifle more exciting then presented here otherwise he needn't have bothered. I know this film's PG but come on- Hitchcock's 'Rope' was sexier than this. Regardless, what we get for the most part is a fastidious Kline at the piano in a small room full of guests sipping tea like they're all living in Arthur Sullivan's era.
I'm still bewildered at how a movie about the life of Cole Porter was actually made in today's culture. I'm reminded now of the great CD from the early nineties, 'Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute that featured a whole mess of contemporary rock stars performing Porter's songs. What is it about Cole Porter that the entertainment industry deems so commercial or universal? Especially nowadays when movies are becoming less and less about the art or the idea and are unctuously fixated on perspective profits only. Most new releases in the past few years are that of tired action formulas and boring special effects extravaganzas involving comic book characters and trolls and hobbits and whatnot. That's why 'Delovely' was such a welcoming notion and I'm moved towards commending the film as, at the very least, a sincere attempt at raising the bar a little. Yet in the end, is it the good turtle soup or merely the mock?
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