• Publication date: August 10, 2009

From Harvard To Paris To Broadway The Highs and Lows Of Brilliance

�De-Lovely� (2004) presents the colorful life of singer and songwriter Cole Porter, who of died of kidney failure in 1964 at the age of 73. Porter was born in the small town of Peru, Indiana where he learned a number of musical instruments including the violin and piano.

�De-Lovely� (2004) presents the colorful life of singer and songwriter Cole Porter, who of died of kidney failure in 1964 at the age of 73. Porter was born in the small town of Peru, Indiana where he learned a number of musical instruments including the violin and piano. Despite his musical prowess Cole�s family encouraged him to pursue a seemingly more practical career in law. After a short time at Harvard�s School of Law one of the singer�s professors hinted that he would be better suited for a career in music; Cole subsequently transferred to the university�s school of arts and sciences.

In 1915 Porter experienced his first taste of success when his song �Esmeralda� was featured in the Broadway production, �Hands Up.� Riding the wave of this achievement Cole began writing his first two Broadway musicals, �See America First� and �Hitchy-Koo of 1919.� Both productions were failures, but also blessings in disguise. Porter�s initial misfortune triggered his exile to Paris where, alongside other notable Western intellectuals, he would refine his famous artistic sensibilities and free spirited persona. Perhaps more importantly the French exile would mark Cole�s introduction to Linda Lee Thomas, his future wife.

Thomas and Porter�s relationship was undoubtedly unique. It was widely known that Porter was a homosexual, especially after a photograph of him intimately embracing another man began circulating. However Thomas was on the rebound from an abusive marriage and Cole was the compassionate antithesis of her previous husband. Likewise, and despite his preference for men, Cole found himself emotionally and physically attracted to Linda. Before marrying Porter Linda was well aware of her fianc�s reputation, but was not troubled by it. In fact, she would also partake in extramarital affairs with his consent.

It is amidst this sexual and cultural ambiguity that Cole would write some of his most prolific tunes including �Anything Goes,� �It's De-Lovely,� and �Night and Day.� These songs would not only touch on universally understood concepts of love and affection, but to the trained listener present a view into the composer�s own complicated and turbulent life.

The picture attempts to place viewers in Cole Porter�s shoes moments before his death, as an angel presents him with a flashback of his life and deeds. A number of contemporary musicians perform Porter�s famous works such as Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow, and Elvis Costello making for an excellent soundtrack. Irvin Winkler occupies the director�s seat whose resume of over 50 films includes masterpieces such as �Rocky� (1976), �Raging Bull� (1980), and �Godfellas� (1990).

�De-Lovely� was nominated for two Golden Globes and its soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy. Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd headline the picture. It is rated PG-13 for sexual content with a runtime of 125 minutes.