The film about the life and music by Cole Porter, directed by Irwin Winkler.
Kevin Kline starring as Cole Porter, Ashley Judd as Linda Porter.
Get De-Lovely on DVD from Amazon.com,
music by Cole Porter.
Article added on November 29, 2004
The film De-lovely by
director Irwin Winkler about Cole Porter (1891-1964), his life and music, is a
mix of biography and fiction. Both Kevin Kline as Cole Porter and Ashley Judd as
his wife Linda deliver excellent performances in a movie that offers musical
highlights not only by the two leading actors, but also by an impressive list of
pop stars, including Robbie Williams (who performs the title song "It's
De-Lovely"), Elvis Costello, Diana
Krall, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, Natalie Cole and others.
De-lovely is a musical love story, a rough sketch of the life of one of
America's most gifted songwriters. Irwin Winkler did not intend to film a
detailed chronological biography. Or, as co-producer Rob Cowan puts it, the
idea was to create something bigger, to capture the character, the nature of
Cole Porter, to touch the viewers and open their eyes for the essence of
Some of the film songs aren't even presented in their chronological order of
creation. De-Lovely is a film about impressions of a life as well as
about the style and music of an era. Since the original interpreters have died
a long time ago and many younger people aren't familiar with Cole Porter, the
choice of having some of today's finest pop artists interpret the songs seems
to be a clever way to create a new Cole Porter fan base.
Director and producer Irwin Winkler has an excellent background as a producer
of music material since he produced the musical New York, New York
(1977) as well as one of the best jazz biographies ever, Round Midnight
(1986; get the film on DVD from Amazon.com).
Lead actor Kevin Kline is no stranger to musical performances. Most people may
remember the Oscar winner from the hilarious comedy A Fish Called Wanda
(1988; get the film on DVD from Amazon.com) but he has also won
two Tony Awards for his performances in the
Broadway musicals On The Twentieth Century and The Pirates of
Penzance. According to co-producer Charles Winkler, Kevin Kline sings live
in 90% of De-Lovely, a unique performance in a motion picture, he
Although Ashley Judd has a musical family background, her mother Naomi and
sister Wynonna are known to (American) music lovers both as solo singers as
well as The Judds, Ashley has never sung in public before. Unsurprisingly, she
was most worried about being compared to her family members, but did a fine
job in her studio interpretations of the song "True Love" and
passages of "Anything Goes" as well as of the second version of
"In the Still of the Night".
Since Cole Porter was not only a musical and social, but also a style icon,
one of the best dressed men of his era, the film De-Lovely offers a
brilliant overview over four decades of fashion. Costume designer Janty Yates
created the wardrobe for over 1200 actors. Photographs from the Cole Porter
Estate were helpful in creating designs of the different times.
For the outfits of Linda (Ashley Judd, 48 pieces of fashion) and Cole Porter
(Kevin Kline, 38 pieces of fashion), Janty Yates got help from one of today's
fashion icons, Giorgio Armani. He created the entire wardrobe of Kevin Kline
as well as some outfits of Ashley Judd. The film is worth seeing for the
Incidentally, Giorgio Armani not only created the cream-colored satin wedding
dress for Ashley Judd in De-Lovely, a few years ago, he also made the
dress for the actress's real life wedding.
The movie De-Lovely, named after a Cole Porter song, starts in the
composer's year of death, 1964. Cole (Kevin Kline) sits on the piano in his
apartment and plays "Night and Day", one of his most famous
evergreens. Accompanied by a director (Jonathan Pryce) who intends to create a
biographical musical about him, Cole Porter remembers his life and music.
The empty stage of a theatre magically gets filled with people from his past.
Cole Porter takes us to Paris of the Roaring Twenties, where he meets
the smart, rich and divorced Linda Thomas. The two are immediately attracted
by each other and form one of the most glamorous high-society couples. In the
film at least, Linda not only knows about her husbands preference for men, she
also accepts it. She only asks him to be discrete about his many adventures -
a promise Cole Porter cannot always keep.
We follow the couple to Venice, where they meet fellow composer Irving Berlin,
who arranges for Cole to create his first Broadway show. First signs of
problems between them surface as Linda looses their child.
In another scene, Cole accepts the offer by legendary MGM boss Louis B. Mayer
(Peter Polycarpou) to work for Hollywood. On a studio tour, the entire cast
delivers a "spontaneous" performance of "Be a clown".
Subsequently, Porter writes his first film music for the singer Nelson Eddy. A
life in luxury with parties, glamorous premieres and affairs follows.
Cole's lust for life leads to indiscrete relations and makes him vulnerable to
scandals. Linda cannot take it anymore and leaves him for Paris. The love
affair seems to be over. But a terrible riding accident in 1937 in which a
falling horse crashes his two legs to the point that they might have to be
amputated, Linda joins him again and manages to persuade the doctors to have
Cole keep his severely injured legs.
The couple moves to Williamstown, Massachusetts where they live a small town
life. Cole has to endure terrible pain and some twenty-five operations, but he
manages to regain control of the piano pedals, to compose and to walk with a
stick. With Kiss Me, Kate (1948), he even manages to have his greatest
success after the accident.
Six years later, after Linda's death from an emphysema, Cole is devastated.
Another four years later, his right leg is amputated. It turns out that Linda
was right, without one of his legs, his life force is crushed and he is unable
to compose anymore. On October 15, 1964 Cole Porter dies. He is burried
between his wife and father.
De-Lovely, 2004. Sony Music. Get the soundtrack from Amazon.com,
Amazon.co.uk. Robbie Williams: "It's De-Lovely"; Alanis Morissette:
"Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)"; Sheryl Crow: "Begin The
Beguine"; Elvis Costello: "Let's Misbehave"; Kevin Kline, Peter Polycarpou and Chorus: "Be a Clown"; John Barrowman and Kevin Kline:
"Night and Day"; Kevin Kline: "Easy to Love"; Ashley Judd
and Taylor Hamilton: "True Love"; Lemar: "What is This Thing
Called Love"; Mick Hucknall: "I Love You"; Diana Krall:
"Just One of Those Things"; Caroline O'Connor and Chorus:
"Anything Goes"; Kevin Kline: "Experiment"; Vivian Green:
"Love for Sale"; Lara Fabian and Mario Frangoulis: "So in
Love"; Natalie Cole: "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye"; Jonathan
Pryce, Kevin Kline, Cast and Chorus: "Blow, Gabriel, Blow"; Kevin
Kline and Ashley Judd: "In the Still of the Night"; Cole Porter:
"You're the Top".
De-Lovely. Get the film with Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd on DVD from Amazon.com,
music by Cole Porter.