Too Marvelous for Words

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This article is about the popular song. For the Jo Stafford album, see Too Marvelous for Words (album).
"Too Marvelous for Words"
Featured in the 1937 Warner Brothers film Ready, Willing and Able
Song by Ross Alexander
Published 1937
Composer(s) Richard Whiting
Lyricist(s) Johnny Mercer
Language English

"Too Marvelous for Words" is a popular song written in 1937. Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics for music composed by Richard Whiting. It was featured in the 1937 Warner Brothers film Ready, Willing and Able, as well as a production number in a musical revue on Broadway.


The song was used as the love theme for the characters played by Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in the 1947 film noir Dark Passage, directed by Delmer Daves. It was introduced in a version sung by Jo Stafford, then recurred as an instrumental at important points in the story. Harry James recorded a version in 1947 on Columbia 37851.

Alec Wilder has praised the song as a "model of pop song writing, musically and lyrically".[1] He cited its surprising shifts in rhythm and key.

The lyrics have won praise as sophisticated and perfectly synchronized with the tune. In the opinion of at least one critic, Mercer borrowed some of the lyric techniques and wordplay from Ira Gershwin.[2] Singer Margaret Whiting was the daughter of composer Whiting and a good friend of lyricist Mercer. She said that Mercer's lyrics in "Too Marvelous for Words" were an enormously original approach to saying "I love you, honey".[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilder, Alec (1990). American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-501445-6. 
  2. ^ Furia, Philip (1990). The Poets of Tin Pan Alley. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506408-9. 
  3. ^ Wilk, Max (1997). They're Playing Our Song. New York: Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-80746-7.