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USA: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distribution
UK: Twentieth Century Fox
Cast: Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce, Kevin McNally, Sandra Nelson, Allan Corduner, Peter Polycarpou, Keith Allen, James Wilby, Kevin McKidd, Richard Dillane, Edward Baker-Duly, Angie Hill, Harry Ditson, Tayler Hamilton, Lexie Peel, Greg Sheffield, Peter Jessop, Jeff Harding, Susannah Fellows, Teddy Kempner
Director: Irwin Winkler
Countries: USA / UK
USA & UK: 126 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for sexual content
UK Certificate: PG contains mild sex references
USA Release Date: 2 July 2004 (Limited Release)
UK Release Date: 1 October 2004
DE-LOVELY is an original musical portrait of one of the world's greatest songwriters, American composer Cole Porter, filled with his unforgettable songs. In the film, Porter is looking back on his life as if it was one of his spectacular stage shows, with the people and events of his life becoming the actors and action onstage. Through hits like "Night and Day," "It's De-lovely," and "In the Still of the Night," Porter's elegant, excessive past comes to light - including his deeply complicated relationship with his wife, Linda.
Highly stylized, visual, and very musical, DE-LOVELY spans almost 40 years, jumping from Paris to Venice to New York to Hollywood, and includes over 30 of Porter's songs. It's a unique, timeless love story about a man who wrote some of the most endearing - and enduring - songs of the twentieth century. Through his music, Porter searched for the meaning of love his whole life, when in fact it was right beside him the whole time.
Directed by Academy Award winner Irwin Winkler from a script by Jay Cocks and starring Oscar winner Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, and Jonathan Pryce - in addition to some of today's biggest rock and pop music stars - DE-LOVELY is a sparkling celebration of Porter's music as well as a stirring exploration of the artist's journey and the undying power of love.
1964. A dying Cole Porter sits alone in his New York apartment, playing the piano and picking out a familiar, melancholy tune. Suddenly a mysterious stranger appears, Gabe, who transports Cole to an empty theater where Gabe is directing what becomes a stage version of Cole's life story. All the key figures from his past appear onstage to re-enact his life - lovers, colleagues, friends, and, most importantly, his wife, Linda. Scene one begins...
In a Paris salon in the 1920s, Cole meets Linda for the first time. They fall in love immediately, admiring each other's grace and beauty and enjoying one another's witty company at the glittering parties of the Jazz Age. Linda sees genius in Porter's songs and is willing to maintain that genius at all costs - she loves his talent as much as she loves him. Porter sees in Linda a steadfast companion and indulgent supporter of his work and lifestyle, someone who sees who he really is and still loves him. They get married despite Cole's warnings that he won't be able to completely fulfill her. She doesn't mind - and is fully aware of his affairs with men - but tells him as long as he's there for her and loves her she can live with that knowledge.
Throughout the marriage, Cole is torn between the very genuine love he feels for Linda and his love of wild parties, drink, and handsome men. As Cole's fame begins to grow, and with each successive theatrical hit, Linda becomes increasingly concerned that the balance in their lives is tipping in favor of the high life. When she miscarries their long hoped for baby, they decide to move to Hollywood to make a new start. Feted by studio chief L.B. Mayer during MGM's golden age, Cole writes uninspired but commercially successful film musicals.
Cole's very public cavorting around town (and a subsequent threat of blackmail) causes Linda to leave Cole and return to Paris. While horseback riding one morning, feeling carefree and over-confident, Cole lets his horse gallop away uncontrollably. The horse falls, throwing Cole, then crashing down on top of him, leading to severe injuries which will affect him the rest of his life. Linda returns from Paris to look after him and is told by the doctor that amputating one or maybe even both legs is the best solution. She tells the doctor with certainty that Cole would rather live in pain and on constant medication than have the shame of losing his legs. With his pride intact, he might be able to overcome the pain and continue working - if he can't write music, then his life is not worth living.
Cole and Linda move to the peace and quiet of Williamstown where he writes unsatisfying stage musicals. Undeterred by this, nor by the unbearable agony of his condition, Cole sets to work on what will become his greatest hit during his lifetime: "Kiss Me, Kate." At the musical's opening night, Cole receives overwhelming applause - but Linda is forced to stay at their home, suffering from a fatal illness and missing her beloved's greatest triumph.
As Linda utters her final words to Cole, they talk of their love for each other. Despite the many obstacles along the way and Cole's regret he could never make her happy enough, their love is as pure and tender as when they first met. After Linda's funeral, Cole sits in the music room of their house with his closest friends, referencing his relationships through his songs. The stage version of Cole's life which he's been helping to direct with Gabe merges together with the stories in his head, and once again all the characters from his life are present, singing together onstage.
Suddenly Cole is alone again, an old, disabled man in his dark New York apartment. Still searching for that quintessential love song - one that can finally express how he feels about Linda - Cole sits at the piano and starts to play "In the Still of the Night" softly to himself. A hand reaches out to give him a rose. It's Linda - young and beautiful once more, as he is, too. They hold each other one last time, reunited as young lovers, as the lights fade slowly to black.