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Words and Music
     

Words and Music

Director: Norman Taurog, Mickey Rooney, Perry Como, June Allyson

Cast: Norman Taurog, Mickey Rooney, Perry Como, June Allyson

 
The life stories of Broadway tunesmiths Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart are prettified for the screen in MGM's Words and Music. Billed fourth, the colorless Tom Drake plays Rodgers, but never mind that: the film belongs to Mickey Rooney, as the dynamic, self-destructive Lorenz Hart. Understandably, Hart's bisexuality is downplayed. According to MGM, his biggest

Overview

The life stories of Broadway tunesmiths Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart are prettified for the screen in MGM's Words and Music. Billed fourth, the colorless Tom Drake plays Rodgers, but never mind that: the film belongs to Mickey Rooney, as the dynamic, self-destructive Lorenz Hart. Understandably, Hart's bisexuality is downplayed. According to MGM, his biggest problem in life is that he was never satisfied with his work. We are, however, especially when those great Rodgers & Hart tunes are performed by the likes of Judy Garland, Janet Leigh, Perry Como, Lena Horne, June Allyson, Cyd Charisse, Betty Garrett, Ann Sothern, Mel Torme, Allyn McLerie, Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen. The musical highlights include Garland's powerhouse rendition of "Johnny One-Note," Kelly's "Slaughter on 10th Avenue" dance solo, Horne's interpretation of "Where or When," Allyson's take on "Thou Swell," and, best of all, Rooney's premiere performance of "I'll Take Manhattan," which he allegedly had just written on the back of an automobile advertisement!

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Hollywood biopics have justifiably been criticized for playing fast and loose with the facts, especially when dealing with composers and lyricists. Words and Music is an extreme example of this, the historical accuracy of which is practically nil. This wouldn't have really mattered had the resulting screenplay been more palatable, blessed with more interesting characters, or possessed of witty and sparkling repartee. Unfortunately, it's a clichéd story with lines the viewer can finish before they're out of the characters' mouths. Matters aren't helped by the leads; Tom Drake is dull and Mickey Rooney annoying. What saves the film are the songs and their performers. Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote some of the finest songs of their day, each imbued with Rodgers' incredible melodic facility and Hart's astounding wordplay, and most of the interpreters present do them full justice. Judy Garland and Lena Horne win highest marks, with a vigorous "Johnny One Note" and a blazing "The Lady Is a Tramp," respectively. "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" is truncated somewhat, but danced brilliantly by Gene Kelly and, cast surprisingly well against type, Vera Ellen. Even June Allyson, singing "Thou Swell," turns in a superior performance. Production values are high, as expected of an MGM musical of the period, and the vocal arrangements are a lot of fun. Words and Music would be followed the next year by Night and Day, a film about Cole Porter that was also largely fictionalized.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/24/2007
UPC:
0012569795327
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
2:01:00
Sales rank:
13,202

Special Features

Commentary by historian Richard Barrios; New featurette, extensive audio outtakes, vintage short and classic cartoon; Lover and You're Nearer outtakes; Theatrical trailer; Subtitles: English & Français

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mickey Rooney Lorenz "Larry" Hart
Perry Como Eddie Lorrison Anders
June Allyson Guest Star
Judy Garland Guest
Lena Horne Herself
Gene Kelly Himself
Ann Sothern Joyce Harmon
Tom Drake Richard "Dick" Rodgers
Cyd Charisse Margo Grant
Betty Garrett Peggy Lorgan McNeil
Janet Leigh Dorothy Feiner Rodgers
Marshall Thompson Herbert Fields
Mel Tormé Specialty
Vera-Ellen Herself
Jeanette Nolan Mrs. Hart
Richard Quine Ben Feiner, Jr.
Clinton Sundberg Shoe Clerk
Dee Turnell Herself
Harry Antrim Dr. Rodgers
Emory Parnell Mr. Feiner
Helen Spring Mrs. Feiner
Edward Earle James Fernby Kelly
Blackburn Twins Actor
John Butler Actor
Sig Frohlich Actor
Ilka Gruning Mrs. Rodgers
Allyn Ann McLerie Actor

Technical Credits
Norman Taurog Director
Albert Akst Editor
Robert Alton Choreography
Guy Bolton Original Story
Jack Dawn Makeup
Fred F. Finklehoffe Screenwriter
Arthur Freed Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Lennie Hayton Musical Direction/Supervision
Jean Holloway Original Story
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Richard A. Pefferle Set Decoration/Design
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles Rosher Cinematographer
Jack Martin Smith Art Director
Harry Stradling Cinematographer
Irene Valles Costumes/Costume Designer
Ferris Webster Editor
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Words and Music
1. Credits [1:47]
2. How We Met [5:08]
3. Manhattan [5:00]
4. Farewell Party [5:30]
5. There's a Small Hotel [3:20]
6. Mountain Greenery [4:39]
7. Raves for the Unknowns [3:32]
8. Walking Tall; Letdown [4:55]
9. Where's the Rainbow? [4:27]
10. Younger/Older Man [4:59]
11. On Your Toes/The Girl Friend/This Can't Be Love [4:59]
12. Heartbroken Hart [4:32]
13. Blue Room [5:58]
14. Up a Tree With Dorothy [5:42]
15. Thou Swell [:59]
16. With a Song in My Heart [4:55]
17. Where or When [2:40]
18. The Lady Is a Tramp [2:21]
19. Engagements [3:26]
20. So This Is Hollywood [2:37]
21. I Wish I Were in Love Again [3:56]
22. Johnny One Note [4:21]
23. Blue Moon [2:44]
24. Lost Larry [3:43]
25. A Flop [4:19]
26. Slaughter on Tenth Avenue [3:01]
27. Final Curtain [7:47]
28. Closing Montage [5:12]
29. Cast List [4:00]

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