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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Words And Music (1948)

Lyricist Lorenz "Larry" Hart (Mickey Rooney) and composer Richard Rodgers (Tom Drake, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS) are introduced by a mutual friend (Marshall Thompson) as potential songwriting partners. They click and hit shows and hit tunes follow although Hart's erratic and unprofessional behavior threatens to derail their success. This glossy and glossed over Technicolor MGM musical bears little resemblance to the actual facts. Hart's bouts of depression are touched on only superficially but not surprisingly (this was 1948 after all) his alcoholism and homosexuality aren't dealt with. Even the shows themselves aren't safe, Gene Kelly did not star in 1936's ON YOUR TOES! The storyline is essentially phony as Hell. So is there a reason for watching it? You bet! You've got some of the best popular songs ever written, every one an ace and impeccably performed! We get to see Lena Horne owning The Lady Is A Tramp, Mel Torme crooning Blue Moon, Rooney and Judy Garland tearing down the place in I Wish I Were In Love Again, June Allyson in the delightful Thou Swell number, Gene Kelly and Vera Ellen in the thrilling Slaughter On Tenth Avenue ballet to name a few highlights. Directed by Norman Taurog. The large cast includes Janet Leigh, Cyd Charisse, Ann Sothern, Perry Como, Betty Garrett, Jeanette Nolan, Allyn Ann McLerie, Marietta Canty and Clinton Sundberg.

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