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


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#1 dirac

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Posted 31 March 2004 - 04:09 PM

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 ĖLinda 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 Ė 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.

#2 GWTW

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 07:39 AM

What is a yockfest?

#3 dirac

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 09:48 AM

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.

#4 sandik

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 09:55 AM

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.

#5 dirac

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 01:32 PM

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:

#6 dirac

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 02:41 PM

The movie was as I feared it would be, Iím sorry to say. We are presented with a more or less straightforward love story, with the heroís 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 donít get too close.) Porterís 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 ďKochnoĒ performing a solo. The movieís timeline is incoherent; we keep cutting to performers doing Porterís songs in a way that seems to draw connections between the songs and events in Porterís life, but the placing of the songs in the film often donít fit with the actual dates of composition, creating a kind of cognitive dissonance if youíre familiar with the Porter oeuvre. Judd plays Linda with her nose in the air and a distracting permanent smile. Kline is not bad but heís 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.

#7 Alexandra

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 03:23 PM

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


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