his is about two movies with words and music — two very different movies, yet I have to admit that I was enthralled by both..
The first is actually called “Words and Music,” and I tuned into the Turner Classic Movies channel because I thought my mother would like it. Of course, as usual, her attention span ended in a half-hour, and I was the one who became thoroughly engrossed in the words and music of this 1948 musical.
A fictionalized look at the lives of the famous songwriting team, Rodgers and Hart, it’s a film filled with famous Hollywood names, many of them playing themselves: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Mel Torme, Perry Como, Lena Horne, June Allyson….. Gene Kelly dancing “Slaughter on Tenth Avenue!” [ DROOL!] Mickey Rooney plays Lorenzo Hart, giving lots of (I’m sure fictionalized but neverthless fascinating) insights into how the lyrics for some of his most famous songs might have originated.
The other movie, filled with a totally different genre of words and music is “The Lost City,” beautifully (I think) directed by and starring Andy Garcia. This movie is a love song to the city and the country of his heart and soul — Havana, Cuba. The cruelties of Batista, Castro, and Che Guevera rip into the tapestry of 1950s Cuba, a land richly textured by the music, dancing, and culture of its diverse people. One of the comments about this movie is that it offers A Dialog that’s been lacking for 50 years. While the “dialog” to which this comment refers is about the politics of that time and place, the writing itself is also full of compelling dialog.
Words and music. Love those movies.