April 2004 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Du Barry Was a Lady 1943 M-G-M musical  
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
  With Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra
[plus bonus numbers from Meet the People (M-G-M 1944)]
  Available On: RHINO RHM2 7851
Running Time: 78:25
Amazon UK   Amazon US

dubarry was a lady

Du Barry Was A Lady opened at New York's 46th Theatre on December 6 1939 to the delight of critics and audiences. It starred the irrepressible Ethel Merman and, in the second female lead Betty Grable. Alas when it reached the screen Merman was replaced by the less than impressive pre- I Love Lucy Lucille Ball whose singing voice was dubbed by Martha Meers. Gene Kelly was the male lead supported by a young Zero Mostel.

The title song has all Porter's renowned cheeky witticisms pointed up by Tommy Dorsey's insouciant trumpeting. Dorsey features strongly in early forties style big band renderings of many of the songs including 'Did You Evah' yes the one we normally connect with Sinatra and Crosby in High Society. There are other surprises - even Tommy Dorsey nasally trumpeting Eric Coates's By the Sleepy Lagoon. When Dorsey is not in full swing, the M-G-M studio orchestra provides the backing.

Although strongly billed, not all the songs are by Cole Porter. They include: 'DuBarry Was A Lady', 'Do I Love You' and that cheeky classic 'In the Morning No.' Other regular M-G-M talents fill out the rest including Roger Edens whose 'Salome' is belted out by comedienne Virginia o' Brien.

Bonus tracks comprise material from M-G-M's 1944 musical Meet The People that starred Dick Powell and Lucille Ball (this time dubbed by Gloria Grafton).

Not the best of wartime M-G-M musicals with very few memorable songs this album must surely be of only minimal interest for modern audiences.

Ian Lace **(*) 21/2

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