Although over the years I've seen excerpts, DEEP IN MY HEART was one of a small number of MGM musicals still on my "to watch" list. I was glad to finally catch up with it; I found it flawed but enjoyable, with some excellent sequences and one number which is so good it makes the film a "must see" for those who love musicals.
DEEP IN MY HEART starts brilliantly, with the MGM studio orchestra playing music by composer Romberg, and eventually the camera swings around to reveal the composer himself conducting, as played by Oscar-winning actor Jose Ferrer.
The film for the most part tells the story of Romberg's career briskly, with his various colleagues played by winning screen personalities including Merle Oberon, Walter Pidgeon, Paul Henreid, Paul Stewart, Jim Backus, and Douglas Fowley. The swift depiction of Romberg's rise to success leaves plenty of room for a variety of MGM's greatest musical stars to perform the music from his shows.
The film does hit a lull midway through, as Romberg romances Lillian Harris (stiffly played by Doe Avedon). These scenes at a resort bring the movie to almost a screeching halt and could have been pared way down, reducing the film's 132 minutes to a more manageable length.
Otherwise director Stanley Donen keeps things moving along nicely, focusing on the performances of Romberg's music.
Other highlights include Jane Powell and Vic Damone singing music from MAYTIME; Gene Kelly and his brother Fred dancing together, a real treat; Ferrer singing and dancing with his real-life wife Rosemary Clooney to "Mr. and Mrs."; Ann Miller dancing to "It"; and Howard Keel singing "Your Land and My Land."
Cyd Charisse and James Mitchell performing "One Alone" from THE DESERT SONG. Charisse initially sings the song, dubbed by Carol Richards; Richards, a great vocal match for the dancer, also sang for Charisse in BRIGADOON (1954), IT'S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER (1955), and SILK STOCKINGS (1957).
Charisse and Mitchell then perform one of the most jaw-droppingly sensual dances ever put on film. They may have been fully clothed but...! The Eugene Loring choreography and the dancing by these two greats is simply stunning, a true masterpiece. Kudos also to Helen Rose, who designed Charisse's white gown.
The Warner Archive Blu-ray of DEEP IN MY HEART is an outstanding print which anyone who loves musicals would be thrilled to have in their collection. The Eastmancolor cinematography was by George Folsey.
The Blu-ray includes all the extras from the movie's previous DVD release, including the trailer, the short THE STRAUSS FANTASY, a Tex Avery cartoon, and audio and video outtakes.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray. Warner Archive Blu-rays may be ordered from the WBShop.