|Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart|
Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were one of the greatest song-writing duos in history, with one hit show after another, and together they created a host of wonderful songs that have become standards. Unfortunately, in general they were badly treated by Hollywood, who made adaptations of their shows with watered down or completely altered plots and lyrics, and worse, sometimes most of the songs were dropped and even replaced by the work of other songwriters. However, they did do the songs for the film Love Me Tonight -- which introduced 'Isn't It Romantic?," among others -- and other songs they wrote managed to make it to the screen in one way or another.
This week we look at a variety of films that were either loosely based on Rodgers and Hart's Broadway hits, or featured music by the famous duo. Many of the writings about the team go on about how handsome Rodgers was, and how ugly and gnome-like Hart was, but actually Rodgers was not that handsome and Hart was not especially ugly. Rodgers was perhaps more even-featured than Hart, whose face was a little more interesting. In any case, who cares? -- all these decades later both men remain giants of the musical theater and people still admire, sing, and appreciate their work. Their shows include Pal Joey, Babes in Arms, The Boys from Syracuse, I Married an Angel, Too Many Girls, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, On Your Toes, and many others. NOTE: Reviews of the film versions of Pal Joey and Too Many Girls will be posted in future weeks.
Rodgers worked with Hart nearly until Hart's death, but Hart lived to congratulate Rodgers on his first collaboration with his new partner, Oscar Hammerstein II, Oklahoma. Rodgers and Hammerstein would etch their own impressive resume after Hart's too-early death.