Words and Music (1948 film)
|Words and Music|
|Directed by||Norman Taurog|
|Produced by||Arthur Freed|
|Written by||Guy Bolton (story)
Ben Feiner Jr.
|Music by||Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart
|Running time||120 minutes|
Words and Music is a 1948 film loosely based on the creative partnership of the composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Lorenz Hart. The film stars Mickey Rooney as Hart and Tom Drake as Rodgers, along with Janet Leigh, Betty Garrett, Ann Sothern and numerous musical stars.
The movie is best remembered for featuring the final screen pairing between Rooney and Judy Garland, and for the lavish showcasing of the Rodgers and Hart catalogue of songs. The script, as in many such films, was heavily fictionalized. It sanitized Hart's complex psychological problems and self-destructive behavior, which led to the break-up of the writing partnership and contributed to Hart's early death. Further, while understandable for its time, the film also completely avoided any mention of Hart's homosexuality.
The beginning of the film is somewhat unusual for a biopic. Drake appears alone in character, introducing himself to the audience as Richard Rodgers and then introducing the story. It's as if Rodgers were playing himself.
Though the film performed very well at the box office, it proved to be quite an expensive production and, as a result, barely recouped its cost in its first release.
- Tom Drake as Richard Rodgers
- Mickey Rooney as Lorenz Hart
- Janet Leigh as Dorothy Feiner Rodgers
- Marshall Thompson as Herbert Fields
- Betty Garrett as Peggy Lorgan McNeil
- Jeanette Nolan as Mrs. Hart
- Ann Sothern as Joyce Harmon
- Perry Como as Eddie Lorrison Anders / Himself, in Finale
- Cyd Charisse as Margo Grant
- Richard Quine as Ben Feiner Jr.
- June Allyson performs "Thou Swell."
- Judy Garland performs "Johnny One Note" and "I Wish I Were in Love Again."
- Lena Horne performs "The Lady Is a Tramp" and "Where or When."
- Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen dance "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue."
- Mel Tormé performs "Blue Moon."
The film was originally budgeted at $2,659,065.
The film earned $3,453,000 in the US and Canada and $1,099,000 overseas but because of its high cost recorded a loss of $371,000.
- The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study.
- H. Mark Glancy, 'MGM Film Grosses, 1924-28: The Eddie Mannix Ledger', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 12 No. 2 1992 p127-144 at p140
- Michael A. Hoey, Elvis' Favorite Director: The Amazing 52-Film Career of Norman Taurog, Bear Manor Media 2013
- Words and Music at the Internet Movie Database
- The Judy Garland Online Discography "Words And Music" pages.
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