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Monday, May 26, 2008


Generally speaking, Golden-Age Hollywood bio-pics of composers (pop or otherwise) fail in direct proportion to the talent quotient of their subject, and this infamously inaccurate fantasia on Cole Porter also has to find some way to deal with his sexual inclinations. Even worse, the guy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth! Where's the struggle? Where's the sacrifice? What’s a ‘40s screenwriter to do? Why, make it all up!* As Porter, Cary Grant has a bit of fun casually singing a few numbers (hurt on this poorly produced DVD via some horrific soundtrack ‘wow’ that abets the disappointingly soft picture quality), but Alexis Smith ’s supporting wife role is completely unplayable (though it’s fun to see her looking like a big, ‘swell-egant’ Jodie Foster). Eventually, the sheer wealth of the Porter catalog (nicely handled musically by Ray Heindorf, but anonymously sung & staged) wins some points. Porter has his famous horse accident which adds a bit of late-innings drama, too. Michael Curtiz got stuck helming four of these musical bio-pics, but this one’s no YANKEE DOODLE DANDY. On the positive side, NIGHT is just ridiculous while the recent Porter bio-pic, DE-LOVELY, is both inexplicable & inexcusable.

READ ALL ABOUT IT; Brendon Gill's COLE is a coffe-table book on Porter & his circle that has a real feel for Cole's caviar lifestyle & times.

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