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 Posted:   Jul 1, 2013 - 7:11 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

This is my all time favorite.

Show Boat (1936) - Can't Help Loving That Man of Mine

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5WEQ8j1Me0


Irene Dunne - don't you just love her!!

The song is wonderful because it speaks about what it's like to really fall in love. And the monologue before the song - 'you've got to be so careful' because once you're in love it isn't so easy to give up. These days it's so unfashionable to think of love as permanent. All the pseudo science of psychology tells you you're "too needy" if you really fall in love; that we need to feel good about ourselves and never rely too much on loving somebody else..... PHOOEY.

The songwriters of the 20th century Broadway stage and Hollywood film weren't interest in pop-psychology when it came to love. They knew what I know: that there's nothing to account for why you fall in love with somebody but it hits you like a meteor and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it!!

Thank God Shakespeare didn't have to deal with modern psychology either:

"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove...
...............................................................
...........Oh no, it is an ever fixed mark
Which looks on tempests and is ne'er shaken".

OR Hammerstein:

"Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly;
I've gotta love ONE man til I die".

I KNOW ALL ABOUT IT!! As I used to tell my high-school English students: "It's all a conspiracy to get you into the Maternity Suite"!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2013 - 11:02 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Regie-

I think that I would have enjoyed being in your classroom - I had only a few teachers that always made learning a pleasure - they helped instill in me a love of music, theater, art, literature, and films -- for which I am eternally grateful!

Im glad you started this thread - it motivated me to pull out a dvd compilation entitled "Can't Help Lovin' That Man - The Melodies of Jerome Kern" a friend had sent me. I never watched all of it -- two hours of musical numbers from television and film all by Kern -- a lot from TIL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY but a number of hard to find ones - sung by the likes of Deanna Durbin, Marilyn Miller, Jeanette MacDonald, Fred Astaire, Irene Dunne, Ann Miller, Patricia Routledge, Elaine Stritch, Teresa Stratas, Rebecca Luker, and many more. It was created by Clive Hirshhorn , author of the wonderful book - THE HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL.

I had forgotten that Kern composed the songs for SWING TIME starring Astaire + Rogers - is it better than TOP HAT(Irving Berlin) or SHALL WE DANCE(George Gershwin)? Some fans and scholars pick it as their best! No wonder all three films are such classics with those composers .

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 1, 2013 - 11:46 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

I'm afraid I've got myself into hot water over my comments about British film on another thread. I hope I've redeemed myself with Jerome Kern.

Well, you're certainly a connoisseur of the music of these giants of musical theatre. Endless joy. And they are artefacts from another time when romance was idealized and a world away from music in which, as Woody Allen once said, "singers look like they are going to take their mothers as hostages"!! ("Hannah and Her Sisters").

I wonder if you liked Bobby Short? Heaven in half-steps!!

I tried to inculcate in my high-school students a love of film, music and literature and I had SOME success. My 3-unit Extension English class (matriculation) had just 5 students in it and I set for study "The Red Shoes" in a unit entitled, "The Make-over" (which I completely devised myself and which looked at the Svengali figure who made a woman over into an image of perfection, starting with Ovid's poem "Pygmalion and the Statue", AD45). You know, none of them laughed at "The Red Shoes", its ripe 3-strip Technicolor saturation and that matron who described Lermentov as a "handsome brute!" (who was, in fact, the incomparable Anton Walbrook - be still my beating heart!). The students enjoyed the film on its own terms and then they sat through "My Fair Lady" right after that!! It was looking at how texts "appropriate" other texts from the past, giving them a new context and set of values: in the case of my unit, it was Shaw's 'appropriation' of Ovid's poem, "Pygmalion", plus "My Fair Lady", "The Red Shoes" and, YES, "Vertigo". My students got a crash-course in fabulous film. (When I left the school the parents of one of those students wrote me the most magnificent letter - I dare not repeat what they said. Very moving.)

(Once you've got students' trust and respect they'll walk over hot coals with bare feet for you!!)

I have a Mel Torme and George Shearing version (Concord Jazz Festival recording, 1981) of "Pick Yourself Up" from "Swing time". It is magnificent!! (Remember Mel singing "Blue Moon" in "Words and Music"?!!!) Here's a 1994 version of "Pick Yourself Up" with Mel Torme, without George Shearing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFczWMwzvns

Patricia Routledge from "Keeping Up Appearances"?? Don't tell me "the Bucket woman" is a singer too??!!

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2013 - 1:45 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

I'm afraid I've got myself into hot water over my comments about British film on another thread. I hope I've redeemed myself with Jerome Kern.

Well, you're certainly a connoisseur of the music of these giants of musical theatre. Endless joy. And they are artefacts from another time when romance was idealized and a world away from music in which, as Woody Allen once said, "singers look like they are going to take their mothers as hostages"!! ("Hannah and Her Sisters").

I wonder if you liked Bobby Short? Heaven in half-steps!!

I tried to inculcate in my high-school students a love of film, music and literature and I had SOME success. My 3-unit Extension English class (matriculation) had just 5 students in it and I set for study "The Red Shoes" in a unit entitled, "The Make-over" (which I completely devised myself and which looked at the Svengali figure who made a woman over into an image of perfection, starting with Ovid's poem "Pygmalion and the Statue", AD45). You know, none of them laughed at "The Red Shoes", its ripe 3-strip Technicolor saturation and that matron who described Lermentov as a "handsome brute!" (who was, in fact, the incomparable Anton Walbrook - be still my beating heart!). The students enjoyed the film on its own terms and then they sat through "My Fair Lady" right after that!! It was looking at how texts "appropriate" other texts from the past, giving them a new context and set of values: in the case of my unit, it was Shaw's 'appropriation' of Ovid's poem, "Pygmalion", plus "My Fair Lady", "The Red Shoes" and, YES, "Vertigo". My students got a crash-course in fabulous film. (When I left the school the parents of one of those students wrote me the most magnificent letter - I dare not repeat what they said. Very moving.)

(Once you've got students' trust and respect they'll walk over hot coals with bare feet for you!!)

I have a Mel Torme and George Shearing version (Concord Jazz Festival recording, 1981) of "Pick Yourself Up" from "Swing time". It is magnificent!! (Remember Mel singing "Blue Moon" in "Words and Music"?!!!) Here's a 1994 version of "Pick Yourself Up" with Mel Torme, without George Shearing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFczWMwzvns

Patricia Routledge from "Keeping Up Appearances"?? Don't tell me "the Bucket woman" is a singer too??!!


Totally redeemed - perhaps that's too strong a word - I enjoyed your posts from the start - even if my opinions might be different .

I always liked smaller classes although I had them mainly in college - one I had was a Seminar on 20th Century Drama and I learned a lot - only three of us.

Your class on Pygmalion sounds terrific - I learned some things just from your description. THE RED SHOES - oh my - what a rich , dazzling experience - that yields new pleasures on every viewing - Moira Shearer is perfection & Anton Walbrook is the most handsome Svengali ever - swoons for both ! This film changed many lives and it is easy to see why -- few films have the effect a first viewing can have on someone(receptive).

Oh yes I liked Bobby Short - a great talent . And Mel Torme too - love listening to his vocals - his voice stayed so amazing until the end -

I was not sure who Patricia Routledge was until I checked the credits - she sings a ditty "I want to sing in Opera" - I had never heard it before - very funny - I see that it is on youtube.

Oh - what a great quote from Woody Allen - and thats over 25 years ago -- wonder how he would express that idea now ?!



 
 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2013 - 3:05 PM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

A lovely thread -- thank you Regie for starting it! John McGlinn was a friend of mine going back to when we were students at Northwestern University in the mid 70's. His best friend at Northwestern became my best friend -- so inevitably in the scheme of things John and I became friends, too, before we graduated. It was clear back then that John was in love with Mr. Kern's music. I treasure the recording of "Showboat" -- it was one of the delights of my life to watch from afar as someone I knew brought a dream project to life in such a spectacular way.

There is something magical about Jerome Kern's music. "The Way You Look Tonight" is probably my all time favorite song. I think I will listen tonight to Ella Fitzgerald's "Jerome Kern Songbook" and add in a couple of John's recordings which I've neglected for a while.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 2, 2013 - 3:30 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

@John McMasters:

Wow, that connection to John McGlinn is very powerful. I'm just so happy we have these musicians who will take an interest in and cherish a wonderful musical legacy which, honestly, I fear about. Not to mention a message-board where we can TALK about all this.

The white hot period of American musical theatre from "tin pan alley" and George right through to the sophisticated music and lyrics of the incomparable Cole Porter; what more can one say? Only this: I could never feel antipathy for the USA - never - when they are capable of this kind of culture. True, many of these composers were from immigrant families but the USA was the crucible which forged such talent and we in the western world are all the richer for it.

I have to say this - I'm bursting at the seams. Polemic alert! Andrew Lloyd-Webber doesn't come within the proverbial (Australian) bull's roar of any of these earlier American composers.

Ella Fitzgerald! Her voice was the musical instrument par excellence and she was 'born' to sing those songs. The great thing about this heritage is that any singer can perform Kern et al and it works. I'm thinking (not of Kern this time, but Porter) of Sheryl Crow's fabulous version of "Begin the Beguine" in the film "De Lovely". Heart-breaking. At first I was resistant, then I said, "oh wait; this is wonderful"!! (And the arrangement!!!!) For instance, in the lines in the song below, "down by the shore an orchestra's PLAYING" sounds like it's in one key, and then Porter modulates to "even the PALMS seem to be swaying". I've capitalized the points of modulation in these lines (I don't have the music in front of me). In short, not according to the scansion of the lines, but off-beat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuUFdWiumkU

For me, Kern and Porter both used harmony and modulation in the most sophisticated way. Last night I was singing "All the Things You Are" to my husband (spoiler alert!) and with each line I indicated how Kern had modulated to a new key.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 3, 2013 - 12:30 AM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

A lovely thread -- thank you Regie for starting it! John McGlinn was a friend of mine going back to when we were students at Northwestern University in the mid 70's. His best friend at Northwestern became my best friend -- so inevitably in the scheme of things John and I became friends, too, before we graduated. It was clear back then that John was in love with Mr. Kern's music. I treasure the recording of "Showboat" -- it was one of the delights of my life to watch from afar as someone I knew brought a dream project to life in such a spectacular way.

There is something magical about Jerome Kern's music. "The Way You Look Tonight" is probably my all time favorite song. I think I will listen tonight to Ella Fitzgerald's "Jerome Kern Songbook" and add in a couple of John's recordings which I've neglected for a while.


I was watching your friend John McGlinn on the dvd I mentioned above conducting the studio performance of "Can't Help Lovin That Man of Mine " from SHOWBOAT , being sung by Teresa Stratas + Frederica Von Stade + others --- and the joy on his face was palpable . So your comments resonated with me - he was living his dream . I dont think that I have ever heard that song sung better than this performance.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 3, 2013 - 2:26 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Those are magnificent singers and I doubt anybody could do that song any better.

McGlinn reminds me of John Wilson, the London-based conductor and orchestrator who has recorded many (if not all) the Conrad Salinger orchestrations from the golden days of MGM Arthur Freed Unit. They both know what we know - this music is of a high calibre and has to be handled just right. Before he died my father handed me $200 and said, "you obviously love this music - go and buy yourself those versions you've been telling me about"!! Nice thought.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 3, 2013 - 2:58 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

John McMasters, I've just read your "bio". A man after my own heart. "The Best Years of Our Lives"!! That score by Friedhofer is to DIE for, as is the entire film.

It's a pleasure to meet people of very good taste on a message-board.

Now, more Kern if you please! Does anybody know of an excellent biography of that composer?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2013 - 3:24 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Has anybody else felt the joy of watching Marge and Gower Champion dancing in "Showboat" (1951) to the fabulous music of Jerome Kern. What talent these two dancers were!! And the encore melody, played on the banjo straight after the number in the film (not on this extract) is just wonderful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZprGYcQ-HI

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2013 - 9:30 AM   
 By:   siriami   (Member)

If Kern floats your (Show) boat - give a listen to John McGlinn's magnificent recording of "Some Girl Is On Your Mind" (from the show "Sweet Adeline") on the CD "Broadway Showstoppers"- it always blows me away with its intensity and feeling.
As has been said earlier. John Wilson in many ways has inherited Mr McGlinn's baton. Long may he prosper!
Alistair

 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2013 - 1:06 PM   
 By:   lexedo   (Member)

Played this one before the long-weekend.



The Way You Look Tonight is my favorite.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2013 - 1:56 PM   
 By:   Joe Caps   (Member)


don't know if this has been mentioned yet, but there is a 1937 film from Warner Bros occasionally shown onTCM
Sweet Adeline starring Irene Dunne.
It has two big hits - Why Was I Born and Don't Ever Leave Me.
But sop many other unknown songs - one great melody after another !! including
Here Am I
Play on the Polka Dot
We Were So Young
Lonely Feet
Twas not so long ago

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 6, 2013 - 6:27 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Thanks for that information. There is a yearning quality in Kern's music. Not for Jerome Kern the kind of world-weariness or cynicism of Cole Porter, or the sense of suffering and being misunderstood in Rodgers and Hart, nor the unrequited love in its first flush of Rodgers and Hammerstein. For the latter composers love is still subject to a kind of adolescent excess and passion. Kern was very different; there was something mystical. It would be an interesting discussion to have - how great songwriters of the American Musical Theatre portrayed being in love!!

Your mentioning "We were so Young" reminds me of a fabulous Gershwin song, as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_V4fJ5OlnKw

Wunderbah!! There's something just so American about this little masterpiece and, of course, George Gershwin is a great love of my life. My mother used to play this music on the piano and I fell in love with George when I was 15 when I first heard "Rhapsody in Blue". Now my love for that piece has waned, but the rest of George's music - well, I'm drawn towards it like a moth to a flame.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2013 - 12:40 AM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Has anybody else felt the joy of watching Marge and Gower Champion dancing in "Showboat" (1951) to the fabulous music of Jerome Kern. What talent these two dancers were!! And the encore melody, played on the banjo straight after the number in the film (not on this extract) is just wonderful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZprGYcQ-HI


Yes indeed - I love the Marge and Gower magic in every appearance they made - especially to the music of Kern in both this classic and LOVELY TO LOOK AT - the somewhat overlooked remake of ROBERTA - they perform a romantic adagio to "Smoke Gets in your Eyes" , among other numbers. Ive written on imdb about how wonderful these two were in all their films - and how seldom they get credit for their remarkable artistry -- breathtaking is a word Id used to describe much of their work . He died in 1980 at 61 and would have turned 94 on June 22 - while Marge is still doing well at 93.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 7, 2013 - 10:54 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

Thank you for that. I read the Champions' bio on Wiki (I hope it's accurate) and did note that Marge was still alive and, well, kicking!! Gower died at 61 of a rare blood cancer, the poor man. It seems he and Marge were divorced in 1973. Weren't they also in "The Barkeley's of Broadway"? Perhaps I'm wrong about that.

I wanted to share this with Kern enthusiasts. I'm just about to finish reading "MGM's Greatest Musicals - The Arthur Freed Unit" by Hugh Fordin. Here is a section, in a chapter about "Till the Clouds Roll By", on the death of Kern and the eulogy delivered by Oscar Hammerstein, using film is a metaphor:

"I have promised myself not to play upon your emotions - or on your mind.

We, in this chapel, are Jerry's "family". We all knew him very well. Each of us knows what the other has lost...

At the moment, Jerry is playing "out of character". The masque of tragedy was never intended for him. His death yesterday and this reluctant epilogue will soon be refocused into their properly remote place in the picture. This episode will soon seem to us to be nothing more than a fantastic and dreamlike intrusion on the gay reality that was Jerry's life.

His gaiety is what we will remember most - the times he has made us laugh; the even greater fun of making him laugh. It's a strange objective to apply to a man, but you'll understand what I mean: Jerry was "cute". He was alert and alive. He "bounced". He stimulated everyone. He annoyed some. He never bored anyone at any time. There was a sharp edge to everything he thought or said...

We, in this chapel, will cherish our special knowledge of this world figure. We will remember a jaunty, happy man whose 60 years were crowded with success and fun and love. Let us think, whatever God we believe in, that we shared some part of the good, bright life Jerry led on this earth".

Here's a gorgeous scene from "Showboat" with the incomparable Joe E. Brown, who is dancing with a little girl. This scene is terribly affecting to me and is somehow everything which typifies American popular culture - the melody and rhythms and the complete showmanship:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkDU1ai5P1I

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 10:50 PM   
 By:   philiperic   (Member)

Thank you for that. I read the Champions' bio on Wiki (I hope it's accurate) and did note that Marge was still alive and, well, kicking!! Gower died at 61 of a rare blood cancer, the poor man. It seems he and Marge were divorced in 1973. Weren't they also in "The Barkeley's of Broadway"? Perhaps I'm wrong about that.

I wanted to share this with Kern enthusiasts. I'm just about to finish reading "MGM's Greatest Musicals - The Arthur Freed Unit" by Hugh Fordin. Here is a section, in a chapter about "Till the Clouds Roll By", on the death of Kern and the eulogy delivered by Oscar Hammerstein, using film is a metaphor:

"I have promised myself not to play upon your emotions - or on your mind.

We, in this chapel, are Jerry's "family". We all knew him very well. Each of us knows what the other has lost...

At the moment, Jerry is playing "out of character". The masque of tragedy was never intended for him. His death yesterday and this reluctant epilogue will soon be refocused into their properly remote place in the picture. This episode will soon seem to us to be nothing more than a fantastic and dreamlike intrusion on the gay reality that was Jerry's life.

His gaiety is what we will remember most - the times he has made us laugh; the even greater fun of making him laugh. It's a strange objective to apply to a man, but you'll understand what I mean: Jerry was "cute". He was alert and alive. He "bounced". He stimulated everyone. He annoyed some. He never bored anyone at any time. There was a sharp edge to everything he thought or said...

We, in this chapel, will cherish our special knowledge of this world figure. We will remember a jaunty, happy man whose 60 years were crowded with success and fun and love. Let us think, whatever God we believe in, that we shared some part of the good, bright life Jerry led on this earth".

Here's a gorgeous scene from "Showboat" with the incomparable Joe E. Brown, who is dancing with a little girl. This scene is terribly affecting to me and is somehow everything which typifies American popular culture - the melody and rhythms and the complete showmanship:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkDU1ai5P1I


Regie-

sorry for the late response -
What a lovely eulogy for Jerry Kern -- maybe Robert Walker was a good choice to play him - onscreen he had humour and joie de vivre -- thanks for posting that .

That is touching moment from SHOWBOAT, thanks to Joe E Brown's playing and, of course, the music.

I did not realize that was the cause of Gower's death - it was so sudden I thought it was heart related. A real pity -- opening night of 42ND STREET on Broadway.

I think one of us should start a seperate thread on Marge and Gower !

Philip

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 9, 2013 - 11:23 PM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

If you want to start something about the Champions that would be great. I did see the excellent ballet sequence on U-tube you referred to earlier - the remake of "Roberta", I think it was. It seemed like classical ballet to me. I didn't see anything in that clip which was less than the artistry to be found in "An American in Paris".

All this is a huge love of mine but I don't know a great deal about Marge and Gower Champion. I recently conducted a 90 minute lecture about Conrad Salinger and his magnificent orchestrations for MGM Freed Unit. Of course, a major work of his was "Till The Clouds Roll By". My lecture was to retired music-lovers for Music Appreciation and they are mostly used to kunstmusik for the presentations. This time with "Connie" they weren't disappointed. What a huge talent that man was and I felt I got closer to him in my research and subsequent lecture. At the close of the lecture one of the organizers, a retired PhD in music education, observed about the USA that we have much to be grateful for from that wonderful country. I couldn't agree more!!

Thank you for the comments Philip and others.

Robert Walker - you do know the story about him I'm sure; an alcoholic depressive who drank himself to death. Very, very sad indeed.

Marge and Gower on "What's My Line" in 1959:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UUrvVESy-c

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2013 - 12:47 AM   
 By:   Preston Neal Jones   (Member)

You've read, I hope, the wonderful Hugh Fordjn book about all the Freed unit films, A WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT. There's a great little story about Arthur Freed with Kern at the MGM studio, discussing casting for TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY and who might play Kern. At one point, when Freed mentioned young Robert Walker as one possibility, the songwriter phoned Mrs. Kern at home and asked, "What do you think of Robert Walker to play me?" She replied, "You stay there and send Robert Walker to me."

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 10, 2013 - 1:56 AM   
 By:   Regie   (Member)

You've read, I hope, the wonderful Hugh Fordjn book about all the Freed unit films, A WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT. There's a great little story about Arthur Freed with Kern at the MGM studio, discussing casting for TILL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY and who might play Kern. At one point, when Freed mentioned young Robert Walker as one possibility, the songwriter phoned Mrs. Kern at home and asked, "What do you think of Robert Walker to play me?" She replied, "You stay there and send Robert Walker to me."

Yes, thanks, I have heard that story!! It was in the Fordin book, I think.

I hope you are feeling better now.

 
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