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dirac

New movie bio of Cole Porter: "De-Lovely"

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Well, the movies are having at the life story of Cole Porter again. "De-Lovely," starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd, will hit our screens some time in June of this year. I saw a trailer for it this weekend, and while I do not wish to prejudge matters, I cannot say it looks as if this movie will be a vast improvement over the 1946 yockfest "Night and Day" starring Cary Grant. First off –Linda Lee Thomas Porter was about twenty years older than her husband, and her name was a byword for beauty, elegance, and taste on two continents. This really does not sound like Ashley Judd to me. In addition, unless I'm mistaken, the trailer seemed to suggest actual physical contact in what was from all reports the blancest of mariages blancs, and presented the movie as some kind of romance. There is no question that Cole and Linda cared deeply for each other, and it was a genuine marriage. But if this movie presents the extremely gay Porter as a sort of faux heterosexual, I'm going to be peeved. Kevin Kline isn't an improvement on Grant, either – the latter might have been a good Porter in less absurd circumstances, but I fear I don't see Kline in this part, at all.

On the other hand, we can hope there are some good renditions of Porter songs. I do hope I'm wrong. We'll see.

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Sorry. It means very funny -- often used ironically, as here. In this instance, it means a whole lotta unintentional humor. Among the highlights: Grant impersonating the young Porter at Yale, surely his most unpersuasive acting outside "The Howards of Virginia." The movie became a legend for its awesome badness, although the composer himself appears not to have minded it -- I guess any man would be happy to be played by Cary Grant, and they did manage to squeeze in many, many of his songs.

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Oh dear.

I adore the Grant film, but certainly not for the reasons the filmmakers intended.

Although Alexis Smith makes an astonishing Linda.

I usually like Kevin Kline's work, so I'll see this, but, well,

maybe the music will be good.

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I always had a soft spot for Alexis Smith. She wasn't the right age either, but she looked right, and I expect the real Linda probably wouldn't have been thrilled if an actress of the correct age had been cast. :wink:

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The movie was as I feared it would be, I’m sorry to say. We are presented with a more or less straightforward love story, with the hero’s yen for men presented as an annoying distraction for a pair who truly long for nothing more than home, hearth, and the pitter-patter of little feet. Cole and Linda nuzzle in bed together; there is no corresponding scene with Porter and a man. (We do see Porter and Boris Kochno in the bedroom post-coitum, but Porter is fully clothed and they don’t get too close.) Porter’s male lovers are interchangeable wavy-haired boyos with toothy smiles. Incidentally, balletgoers will be interested to learn that Kochno was a principal dancer for Diaghilev (who makes a couple of cameo appearances) and there is a very brief shot of “Kochno” performing a solo. The movie’s timeline is incoherent; we keep cutting to performers doing Porter’s songs in a way that seems to draw connections between the songs and events in Porter’s life, but the placing of the songs in the film often don’t fit with the actual dates of composition, creating a kind of cognitive dissonance if you’re familiar with the Porter oeuvre. Judd plays Linda with her nose in the air and a distracting permanent smile. Kline is not bad but he’s way too old for the early scenes, and his makeup as the elderly Porter makes him look like Brando in Apocalypse Now. Kline does far too much singing; it reached the point where my heart sank every time he made for the piano. The songs, which should make up for all of the foregoing if performed well, receive highly varying performances, and the production numbers are amateur hour.

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Now I don't have to see the movie -- great to read you again, dirac :)

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