Two weeks ago, I shined a spotlight on the Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers team that was so iconic of the 30’s. I included a link to a clip of them dancing to “Night and Day”, in The Gay Dirvorcé. Today, I want to talk about the musical element of old movies.
I’m just going to lay it out: the music composers of these old movies were the best ever. Between Broadway and Hollywood, the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s created the Golden Age of American music. With people like Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, Hoagy Carmichael, etc. writing music and scores, American stage and screen were blessed with a music that will live for ages.
The song that I featured last week, “Night and Day”, was written by Cole Porter, one of the most prolific and remarkable songwriters of the era. As an example of what I’m trying to get at, here is a list of notable Cole Porter songs from just the 1930’s:
- “Night and Day”
- “Anything Goes”
- “I Get a Kick Out of You”
- “You’re the Top”
- “Don’t Fence Me In”
- “It’s De-Lovely”
- “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”
- “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”
- “Begin the Beguine”
This list is, by no means, a complete listing of his songs from the 30’s; just the most memorable. And all of these songs are still being sung today. If you do a search on YouTube for the last song on the list, you’ll find a musical Who’s Who of renditions: Ella Fitzgerald, Artie Shaw, Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra……
Well, you get my point. The music of the old movies was just plain special, because the composers were the best ever produced. Here is Begin the Beguine, by Deanna Durbin, from Hers To Hold. (be sure to turn your volume down, as Durbin can be over-powering when she goes high.)