Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
"I wanted every kind of love that was available, but I could never find them in the same person, or the same sex." -- Cole Porter
Porter floated effortlessly for a time between worlds: Gay and straight, Europe and America, Broadway and Hollywood, show biz and high society. He had a lifelong love affair with his wife, and lifelong love affairs without his wife. He thrived, it seemed, on a lifestyle that would have destroyed other men (and was, in fact, illegal in most of the places that he lived), and all the time he wrote those magical songs. Then a horse fell down and crushed his legs, and he spent 27 years in pain. And still he wrote those magical songs.
"De-Lovely" is a musical and a biography, and brings to both of those genres a worldly sophistication that is rare in the movies. (If you seek to find how rare, compare this film with "Night and Day," the 1946 biopic which stars Cary Grant as a resolutely straight Porter, even sending him off to World War I). "De-Lovely" not only accepts Porter's complications, but bases the movie on them; his lyrics take on a tantalizing ambiguity once you understand that they are not necessarily written about love with a woman:
It's the wrong game, with the wrong chipsThough your lips are tempting, they're the wrong lipsThey're not her lips, but they're such tempting lipsThat, if some night, you're freeThen it's all right, yes, it's all right with me.