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“De- Lovely” - {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: MGM
Release Date:
April 5, 2011
Special Features:

Audio Commentary with Director Irwin Winkler and Kevin Kline/ Audio Commentary with Director Irwin Winkler and Writer Jay Cocks/ Making of De-Lovely Music of De-Lovely Anatomy of a Scene: Be a Clown Anatomy of a Scene: Love for Sale/ Deleted Scenes/ Theatrical Trailer


Irwin Winkler’s “De-Lovely” captures the life of the brilliant songwriter Cole Porter (Kevin Kline) and his multihued life loving men and women. Featuring strong musical performances of classic Porter songs by Elvis Costello, Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Mick Hucknall, Diane Krall, Natalie Cole and others the film has an elderly Cole viewing his life in flashback as if in a theatrical production presented by a mysterious God-like director (Jonathan Price). When Porter meets divorcee Linda (Ashley Judd) despite his homosexuality he finds himself smitten and their whirlwind romantic courtship helps Porter create some of his most memorable masterpieces. Their platonic love affair fuels his creativity. The film straddles the line between biography and musical with plenty of unusual musical performances of classic Porter songs. Kline gives a brilliant performance as Porter (lucky for Kline he studied piano when he was younger) equally matched by the other main performers in the film. While the framing story of “God” showing Porter his life in a theatrical production and asking for his comments as to the accuracy of it comes across as a bit pretentious it works surprisingly because of Kline and the cast. Never skirting Porter’s homosexuality, Winkler is never blunt ***

Image & Sound:

Presented with remarkable clarity, colors as alive as Porter’s witty songs, “De-Lovely” looks remarkably good on this DVD presentation. The rich 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround mix has music popping up in the most unexpected places using the format really well.

Special Features:

Two excellent commentary tracks highlight the film. The first featuring director Winkler and actor Kevin Kline give much insight into the creative process that happens on the soundstage. There’s also much behind-the-scenes information that Kline and Winkler found out about and share about Porter. Screenwriter Jay Cocks and Winkler discuss Porter’s life in relation to the film and how things were changed/condensed as well as their decision to go with a musical format for this biography. Interestingly, both also discuss how the classic song “Be a Clown” was ripped off and turned into “Make ‘em Laugh” for the MGM classic film “Singing in the Rain”.***

We get deleted scenes along with an alternate ending as well as two brief presentations of the song “Be a Clown”. There’s also a very good featurette on the making of the movie featuring comments from director Irwin Winkler, the cast and the producers weighing in on the long term appeal of Porter’s music and his fascinating life. “The Music of De-Lovely” features a variety of musical performers on what peaked their interest in performing the songs and appearing in the film. We also get a glimpse into the production of the soundtrack. The two “Anatomy of” featurettes focus on the choregraphy of both scenes with a behind the scene glimpse into both the recording studio and the rehearsals. There’s also the theatrical trailer and a TV spot advertising the soundtrack for completists. ---

Final Words:

A fine musical biography of the complex life of creative genius of Cole Porter. A well made thought provoking film, “De-Lovely” suffers a bit due to the clever framing story. The framing story does wear thin after the first half of the film and, while it does allow the elderly Porter the chance to comment on his life, it also tends to pull one out of the dramatic story of Cole and Linda Porter. The film tends to feel like a light biography as the dramatic conflicts are few and far between. “De-Lovely” is still a worthwhile trip down Cole Porter’s often complex life.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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