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||IMDB Rating: 6.6/10 from 797 votes
||Release: 31 December 1948 (USA) /
||Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama, Music, Musical
||Director: Norman Taurog,
||Stars: Ann Sothern, Betty Garrett, Cyd Charisse, Gene Kelly, Janet Leigh, Jeanette Nolan, Judy Garland, June Allyson, Lena Horne, Marshall Thompson, Mel Tormé, Mickey Rooney, Perry Como, Tom Drake, Vera-Ellen
||Synopsis: Encomium to Larry Hart (1895-1943), seen through the fictive eyes of his song-writing partner, Richard Rodgers (1902-1979): from their first meeting, through lean years and their breakthrough, to their successes on Broadway, London, and Hollywood. We see the fruits of Hart and Rodgers' collaboration - elaborately staged numbers from their plays, characters' visits to night clubs, and impromptu performances at parties. We also see Larry's scattered approach to life, his failed love with Peggy McNeil, his unhappiness, and Richard's successful wooing of Dorothy Feiner. Written by <email@example.com>
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Watch Words and Music - Alternative Versions.
To describe the 1948 WORDS AND MUSIC as a "whitewashed" version of the
famous song-writing team Rogers and Hart is a gross understatement.
Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) was a homosexual in an era when such was flatly
unacceptable; the pressures of the closet drove him into a wildly
self-destructive alcoholism that ultimately killed him. Richard Rogers
(1902-1979)was Hart's polar opposite, a highly disciplined individual
who had zero tolerance for Hart's extremes. Their friendship and
working relation was stormy, to say the least.
Needless to say, there was no way on earth that 1940s Hollywood could
approach these facts. What we get instead is the story of the brilliant
but glitchy Hart (Mickey Rooney) who is disappointed in love by singer
Peggy McNeil (Betty Garrett), never gets over it, and falls apart as
Rogers (Tom Drake) and his wife Dorothy (Janet Leigh) look on in
dismay. It's pretty much a lot of pap, but fortunately for all
concerned the movie gives us a lot of music along the way.
Most of the music is the form of cameos by a wash of MGM's musical
stars. Perry Como has unexpected screen presence; Lena Horne, saddled
with the excessive gesticulation and odd costumes typically inflicted
upon her during her Hollywood years, still manages to give truly
memorable performances of "Where or When" and "The Lady Is A Tramp;"
June Allyson does a charming "Thou Swell;" Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen
offer a memorable version of the jazz ballet "Slaughter on 10th
Avenue." Other notables include Anne Southern, Cyd Charisse, and Mel
The big noise among the cameos is Judy Garland, who was battling MGM
over withheld salary at the time and finally agreed to do two numbers
to even out what the studio said she owed them. The result would be the
final pairing of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in a motion picture,
the two performing a charming duet of "I Wish I Were In Love Again,"
with Rooney clearly trying to break Garland up--and often succeeding.
It's tremendous fun and followed by Garland's hard-belting and equally
enjoyable "Johnny One Note."
Cameos aside, the primary cast is quite good with Rooney a stand out as
Hart; one wonders at what performance he might have given if the script
had been a no-holds-barred account. Granted, WORDS AND MUSIC is the
sort film you watch for the musical moments rather than the plot--but
when all is said and done it does what it does extremely well.
Recommended, but primarily for musical fans.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
Tags for Words and Music Full Movie
, Betty Garrett
, Cyd Charisse
, Gene Kelly
, Janet Leigh
, Jeanette Nolan
, Judy Garland
, June Allyson
, Lena Horne
, Marshall Thompson
, Mel Tormé
, Mickey Rooney
, Perry Como
, Tom Drake
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