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De-Lovely
DVD disk
Jan 5, 2005 By: Indiana Sev
De-Lovely order
Director:
Irwin Winkler

Actors:
Kevin Kline
Ashley Judd
Jonathan Pryce

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A biopic musical on the life and times of one of the most legendary American composers of all-time, Cole Porter. The movie follows Cole during the most productive period of his career, which includes his courtship and eventual marriage with his muse Linda Lee Thomas.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?

By the time this movie started getting a bit interesting (the last half hour), it was a little too late. First off, as much as I agree with a lot of the cinematic methods used to tell Porterís life story, such as it being a musical and him often looking back on his life via staged performances with actors singing his songs, there were still plenty of things that were neglected that ultimately hurt the picture. The movie begins when he is already a fairly known composer in Paris and it doesnít address how and why he is already filthy rich (I later read that his family were millionaires). What is he doing in Paris? How did he end up there? What drove him to writing music? What freakiní year is it -specifically? There are a quite a number of questions like this youíll be asking yourself for the first 30-40 minutes of its runtime. For those people who didnít know much about the man but enjoy many of his songs (as I do), this biopic, as untraditional as it may be, leaves way too many questions unanswered for the sake of long musical numbers that couldíve and shouldíve been cut down a tad to make room for a bit more fleshing out of his character. For Christís sake, the only thing I really knew about the man after the first hour was that he liked the company of men as much as women, he was extremely happy-go-lucky and he had a knack for writing damn good love songsÖ

In fact, besides the fact that his wife was cool with his extra-marital affairs with men and their blind devoted love for one another, their relationship is never really examined any deeper and their chemistry is unfortunately not electric enough for me to just have just bought into their passionate love affair without further exploration. It seems the only tiffs these two ever had stemmed from his gay relations, which takes up way too much time in the film. I understand that this was a part of who he was but the excess time the director spent on that could have been reduced to look into other aspects of his life (Did he have any further aspirations? What was his relationship like with many of the famous singers of the time that made his songs huge hits? Was he close with his parents? etc.)

The result was that Klineís portrayal of Porter left him coming off with almost zero personality during most of the film. The real Cole Porter led a fascinating life and his songs are performed beautifully in the film with a couple of really inspired musical dance sequences (the Be a Clown and Blow, Gabriel, Blow sequences are particularly impressive), but sadly director Irwin Winkler didnít really educate me enough about the man and consequently I didnít care as much about him or the movie until they got to his final years, in the last half hour. As a biopic that shouldíve fully explored and celebrated one of the 20th centuryís most talented composers, this movie completely misses the boat, as a musical, it does a very good job. In the end, Iíve got to say that Cole Porter deserved better than thisÖ

THE EXTRAS

Audio Commentary by Director Irwin Winkler and Kevin Kline

Iíve always liked Kline as an actor and as a person so itís no wonder I got a kick from his participation on the commentary track. Irwin and Kevin arenít exactly speaking a mile a minute on this but they do cover a lot of ground and you can sense they have a pretty good camaraderie with one another. At one point, one of them mentions that they play very loosely with time in this movie, thatís precisely the thing that most turned me off about it. In a biopic, to me, thatís a sinÖ

Audio Commentary by Director Irwin Winkler and Writer Jay Cocks

They sure didnít skimp on the commentaries on this one. Here, youíll get a little more insight into the decisions made on the film and an understanding of what both writer and director wanted to explore about the composer.

ďMaking of De-LovelyĒ Featurette (25 minutes)

A tremendously well made behind-the-scenes look into almost every aspect of the film with comments and interviews from all the big players involved. After seeing this, I kind of wished the film lived up to its potentialÖ

ďMusic of De-LovelyĒ Featurette (15 minutes)

All the hotshot singers that perform Porterís songs in the film discuss their experience on working on DE-LOVELY. Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello et al. are all part of this little feature.

Anatomy of a Scene: Be a Clown

A 5-minute look into all the rehearsals, recording sessions and choreography it took to create one of the filmís musical numbers.

Anatomy of a Scene: Love for Sale

See above.

Deleted Scenes

Nine scenes in total here, a lot of them worth looking into as you have an alternate ending as well a peek into Cole Porter as a child (a few of these scenes in the movie mightíve helped make it a better biopic).

De-Lovely Soundtrack TV Spot

Theatrical Trailer

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
If youíre not expecting much, this movie, which greatly celebrates Porterís wonderful songs, just might do the trick for you on a boring Wednesday night but the lack of effort put into digging deeper into Cole Porterís personality and early years makes it very difficult for me to suggest this as a purchase.
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