Words and Music
MGM, 1948 (Color, 119 minutes, Production No. 1427)
Words and Music is a biographical musical based on the partnership of Richard Rodgers (played by Tom Drake) and Lorenz Hart (played by Mickey Rooney). The story line is rather weak (OK, very weak), and Mickey's
portrayal of Hart is downright depressing. Though apparently innacurate, as are most musical biographies, it is a very enjoyable tribute to the wonderful music of this fabulous duo. Most of MGM's major stars are onhand to deliver some of America's best
music as only MGM can do it.
Highlights include Judy and Mickey's rendition of "I Wish I Were in Love Again," Judy's "Johnny One Note," Perry Como and Allyn McLerie in "Mountain Greenery," June Allyson's "Thou Swell," and Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen's interpretive ballet, "Slaughter on
Tenth Avenue." If you're looking for a great movie, watch something else, but if you want to see a thrilling Rodgers and Hart concert, this is it!
Produced by: Arthur Freed
Directed by: Norman Taurog
Screenplay: Fred Finklehoffe
Story by: Guy Bolton and Jean Holloway
Adaptation by: and Ben Feiner, Jr.
Based in the Lives and Music of and
Musical Direction: Lennie Hayton
Orchestration: Conrad Salinger
Vocal Arrangements: Robert Tucker
Musical Numbers Staged and Directed by: Robert Alton
Art Directors: Cedric Gibbons and Jack Martin Smith
Set Decorations: Edwin B. Willis
Associate: Richard A. Pefferle
Women's Costumes by: Helen Rose
Men's Costumes by: Valles
Hair Styles Created by: Sydney Guilaroff
Make-Up Created by: Jack Dawn
Recording Director: Douglas Shearer, John A. Williams
Director of Photography: Charles Rosher, Harry Stradling
Special Effects: Warren Newcombe
Color by Technicolor
Technicolor Color Director: Natalie Kalmus
Associate: James Gooch
Film Editors: Albert Akst and Ferris Webster
Filmed: Judy's scenes filmed June 1948 (she turned 26 that month)
Released: December 1948
... Lorenz Hart
... Eddie Lorrison Anders
... Joyce Harmon
... Richard Rodgers
... Peggy McNeil
... Dorothy Feiner
... Herbert Fields
... Mrs. Hart
... Bob Feiner, Jr.
... Shoe Clerk
... Dr. Rodgers
... Mrs. Rodgers
and Guest Stars:
, , , , , , , , , , , ,
[0:00] Overture (played and sung by The MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus)
[0:09] (sung by Mickey Rooney, Tom Drake and Marshall Thompson)
[0:17] (sung by Betty Garrett)
[0:20] (sung by Perry Como, Allyn McLerie and Chorus)
[0:32] (sung by Betty Garrett)
[0:34] (sung and danced by Ann Sothern and Chorus)
[0:43] (sung and danced by Cyd Charisse and Dee Turnell)
[0:45] (instrumental danced by Cyd Charisse and Dee Turnell)
[0:46] (instrumental danced by Cyd Charisse and Dee Turnell)
[0:53] (sung by Perry Como, danced by Cyd Charisse)
[1:04] (sung and danced by June Allyson and The Blackburn Twins)
[1:10] (sung by Tom Drake)
[1:12] (played by Orchestra behind montage)
[1:13] (sung by Lena Horne)
[1:15] (sung by Lena Horne)
[1:27] (sung by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney)
[1:29} (sung by Judy Garland)
[1:34] (sung by Mel Torme, moped by Mickey Rooney)
[1:38] (spoken by Mickey Rooney)
[1:43] (ballet danced by Gene Kelly and Vera-Ellen)
[1:56] Finale: (introduction by Gene Kelly, sung by Perry Como and Chorus with montage of clips from many of the numbers in the
movie; played by Orchestra behind end credits)
MGM had not planned on having Judy in Words and Music, but L.B. Mayer offered her $50,000 to help with her medical bills if she would guest star for one number. Although she was on the verge of collapse, her
performance was so well received that Mayer offered her another $50,000 to film an encore number.
This was the last time Judy and Mickey would appear in a film together. They were in a total of ten movies together, eight of which were made specifically for them (see
page here on the Judy Garland Database).
This was Mickey's last film for MGM.
Janet Leigh had this to say of Judy: "[she] was warm and open and dear - and nervous and thin and drawn. It never occurred to me that someone as proficient in her profession as Judy could be insecure or unsure. [But] she was
pure magic; I was hypnotized. She always gave one hundred fifty percent of herself."
See for purchasing information.
See for more information on this and other classic films.
"Words and Music is a good show when it sticks to the business implied in its title. Lena Horne ... brings the film to its toes with her vocalization of 'Where or When' and 'The Lady Is a Tramp' ... Judy Garland ...
keeps it there with 'I Wish I Were in Love Again' and 'Johnny One Note.'"
- Newsweek, 1949
"Outrageously cast as lyricist Hart, Mickey Rooney runs his own narrow gamut between the brash and the maudlin, tottering finally to a ludicrous death on the rain-pelted sidewalk. As Rodgers, young Tom Drake looks and
behaves like a well-mannered New Haven undergraduate. Between them, they hold up a limp plot line..."
- Time, 1949