Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Night and Day 1946

I remember seeing this film on my black and white TV back in the 60’s so it came as quite a shock to discover that this very fictionalized movie bio of Cole porter was filmed in bright and pretty Technicolor.  Seeing it on dvd the other night affected me the same way Judy Garland felt in The Wizard Oz when she opened the door after her house landed and she was hit in the face with glorious color and realized that she wasn’t in Kansas anymore. The same can be said for this film, we definitely are not in Kansas, in fact we might be in Bizzaroland better known as  Hollywood. This film looks like it was put together in some intensive care unit out in the Hollywood hills by some very drugged out patients, that’s how far fetched it is. The movie as I said is supposed to be based on the life of Cole Porter, (the credits read based on the career of Cole Porter which kinda lets them off the hook).  Some of the basic facts are here but his homosexuality is of course gone. There are some coded references for those in the know that are dropped throughout the film having to do with Cary Grant (who plays Cole) being uninterested in any of the attractive ladies who are constantly after him including a perky Jane Wyman, a toothy Ginny Simms, and a cold and removed Alexis Smith who plays Linda his neglected wife. In real life Porter was indeed married to Linda, but this was a marriage of convenience, a ruse, a beard, a sham. In the film directed as well as could be expected by the Warner Bros. Jack of all genres Michael Curtiz, Cole (Cary) is more interested in writing musicals and hanging out with his buddy Monty Wooley than spending time with his boring wife. Wooley who plays himself and who in real life was actually a close friend and traveling companion of Porter’s was also gay. In the film however he’s required to make silly passes at all the leggy showgirls, when in real life Mony was more interested in rough trade, while Cole liked the chorus boys. The movie does include his terrible accident where a horse fell on him crushing both legs, but Grant plays it as if it was just a mere inconvenience. The movie is full of gays, bi’s and lesbians in front of and behind the camera, and for sure some of the film is fun, especially a few of the garish musical numbers, and of course Porter’s music is glorious.  One of the best numbers features a  wonderful Mary Martin, young and attractive doing My Heart Belongs To Daddy from “Leave It To Me”  her big breakthrough show that she did with Porter.  This is not one of Grant’s best performance, he seems to be sleep walking through it, and looks like he would rather be somewhere else, I had that feeling myself. 


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