Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

De-Lovely

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
3 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Kevin Kline as Cole Porter
Ashley Judd as Linda Porter
Jonathan Pryce as Gabe
Kevin McNally as Gerald Murphy
Sandra Nelson as Sara Murphy
Allan Corduner as Monty Woolley
Peter Polycarpou as Louis B. Mayer
Keith Allen as Irving Berlin
James Wilby as Edward Thomas
Kevin McKidd as Bobby Reed
Richard Dillane as Bill Wrather
Edward Baker-Duly as Boris Kochno
Angie Hill as Ellin Berlin
Harry Ditson as Dr. Moorhead
Tayler Hamilton as Honoria Murphy

Special Features:
Commentary by director Irwin Winkler and Kevin Kline

Commentary by director Irwin Winkler and writer Jay Cocks

30-minute making-of featurette

Behind-the-music featurette

Anatomy-of-a-scene featurettes: Be a Clown, Love for Sale

Eight deleted scenes

Never-before-seen alternate ending

Theatrical trailer, TV spot

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French and Spanish Languages
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 2 Hours 5 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

""The most unusual and enchanting musical in years" (Roger Ebert), this cinematic ode to legendary composer Cole Porter is at once buoyantly fun and "heartbreakingly beautiful" (Liz Smith). Oscar winner Kevin Kline (The Ice Storm) is "perfection" (Rolling Stone) as the elegant and deeply complex Porter in a film that offers "knockout performances" (Gene Shalit) from Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Alanis Morissette and Robbie Williams, and "melancholy, wit and style to burn" (The Philadelphia Inquirer)!

From Paris to Venice to Broadway to Hollywood, the lives of Cole (Kline) and Linda (Ashley Judd) Porter were never less than glamorous and wildly unconventional. Though Cole's thirst for life strained their marriage, Linda never stopped being his muse, inspiring some of the greatest songs of the twentieth century."

De-Lovely is rated PG-13 for sexual content.

The Movie:
De-Lovely is a biography about legendary composer Cole Porter told in the form of a musical. Cole Porter was a bisexual married to a woman, but he frequently had homosexual rendezvous with other men (with the consent of his wife). By now you probably already know if you're going to be interested in this movie. If you're not into musicals or if the whole bisexual angle bothers you, then stay far away from De-Lovely. If you're into musicals and the bisexual aspect of the story doesn't bother you, then you'll probably enjoy De-Lovely.

I personally didn't care for De-Lovely. While I was familiar with Cole Porter's music, it wasn't exciting enough to pull me into the movie. I also didn't see Cole Porter as a person to be celebrated. He repeatedly cheated on his wife with men, he did so with selfish motivations, and he was arrogant and cranky. I think there are people out there in the world who have done more noble things that are worthy of celebrating on film.

Despite my distaste with the subject matter, I recognize that it was a well made movie. The sets, costumes, and locations are all quite beautiful. The music numbers are well choreographed and they feature a number of well known music stars singing the Cole Porter tunes. Look for Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Robbie Williams, Elvis Costello, Natalie Cole, and more. It was a nice touch to the film. The story of Porter's life is also told as if it were a flashback in the form of a stage musical right before Porter dies. While this flashback format has been done before, they use it to good effect.

Kevin Kline is good as Cole Porter. He plays all aspects of the character well from his creative side to his loving side to his dark side. While he doesn't have the best singing voice, Porter didn't necessarily have the best either. He has good chemistry with Ashley Judd as Linda. She plays the character as a very open minded individual about Porter's bisexuality, but you have to wonder why the woman would think a relationship like that would ever work. Still, you see Porter's attraction to her.

De-Lovely is obviously going to appeal to some people out there (as shown by the award nominations and raving reviews), but this just wasn't a film for me.

The Extras:
There are a number of bonus features included on this DVD. Here are the highlights:

Commentary by director Irwin Winkler and Kevin Kline – This is probably the better of the two commentaries because you get to have a first-hand perspective on the Cole Porter character from Kevin Kline. They talk about the challenges of the filming, the makeup, the music, and other aspects of the making of the movie.

Commentary by director Irwin Winkler and writer Jay Cocks – This commentary is fairly informative since it includes writer Jay Cocks. They get into the mechanics of the story and the making of the movie as well.

30-minute making-of featurette – This is your standard "making of" feature with cast and crew interviews, behind the scenes footage, and more. But it goes a little more in-depth than your standard feature. They discuss the real Cole Porter and his life as well. If you liked the movie or are a Cole Porter fan, you'll enjoy this.

Behind-the-music featurette – This featurette highlights all the music stars and their performances in the movie. If you're a fan of any of the singers, you'll get a kick out of seeing them in this movie.

Anatomy-of-a-scene featurettes: Be a Clown, Love for Sale – These two short features show how they choreographed and staged some of the key scenes from the movie. You gain a greater appreciation for just how much work they put into them.

Eight deleted scenes plus Never-before-seen alternate ending – The deleted scenes are OK but nothing terribly missed from the film. One is a brief scene showing Cole Porter as a child playing piano in a silent movie theater. Another scene shows Porter saying it was impossible to turn Shakespeare into a musical (before he did Kiss Me Kate). Then there are two alternate scenes showing different openings to the "Be A Clown" musical number. But the main deleted scene is the alternate ending. It features a longer version of the "Gabriel's Horn" song, but then Linda doesn't show up at the end and the film abruptly ends. I think the theatrical version is probably more satisfying.

The Bottom Line:
Unless you're interesting in seeing a musical about a bisexual showtune writer, then pass on De-Lovely. Fans of Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd will probably enjoy this film regardless of the subject matter, though.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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