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A GENTLE BUT HONEST REVIEW

  • Aug 13, 2012
  • by
Rating:
+5
If you're interested in the memorable songwriting team of Rodgers and Hart, forget the squeaky clean film movie starring Mickey Rooney as Lorenz Hart and pick up a copy of Gary Marmorstein's gentle but honest, carefully researched story of Hart's all too short life.

Short might well be an operative word here as the adult Hart barely reached five feet. He was an immensely talented but deeply troubled soul. Together Rodgers and Hart had an enormous impact on the musical world in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. They gave us such hit Broadway shows as On Your Toes, Babes In Arms, Pal Joey and countless songs - My Funny Valentine, Blue Moon, I Wish I Were In Love Again, Where or When, and more that are loved, played and sung today.

Marmorstein has accomplished a yeoman's task in detailing the days of Hart's life from his iconic pairing with Rodgers to his disturbed personality to his sexuality to his alcoholism. Hart was not an easy working partner, later given to tardiness and sometimes total disappearance. Yet he seemed able to dash off his best in 30 minutes and was without peer as a lyricist - eloquent, witty, urbane, romantic, wistful. He felt the bars had not been pushed far enough in American musicals, and he did it with gusto and to great acclaim.

There are so many memorable ancillary characters coming and going in the lives of Rodgers and Hart that A Ship Without A Sail is always fascinating reading, brimming with anecdotes and quotations. Yet, for this reader the story is clouded with sadness sadness as Hart follows his self-destructive path. His early death was an immeasurable loss. But we will always have his unforgettable words - he gave us so much we cannot help but wish that life had given him more.

- Gail Cooke

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About the reviewer
Gail Cooke ()
Ranked #138
Member Since: Nov 1, 2008
Last Login: Aug 19, 2012 07:37 PM UTC
About this product

Wiki

“The whole story, joyful and unflinching, of an astounding talent. This biography really has Hart.”

—Laurence Bergreen, author of As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin and Columbus: The Four Voyages



“Sophisticated, engaging, elegant, and packed with absorbing detail, A Ship Without A Sail is the definitive biography of Larry Hart for which all of us who love his work have been waiting. That Gary Marmorstein has captured the soaring highs and the crushing lows of that short, unhappy life so completely and so sympathetically is a truly remarkable—even enviable—achievement. And I speak of what I know.”

—Frederick Nolan, author of The Sound of Their Music: The Story of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway

"Marmorstein brings to the task just the right precision instruments for dissecting Larry Hart -- panache, sympathy and smarts. The very title of his book goes to the heart of the tortured story he tells so well. . . . He knows the period and its players inside out and along the way offers wonderful cameos of many minor figures in the story..."

—J. D. McClatchy, The Wall Street Journal



“A deeply sympathetic biography of Lorenz Hart, the talented, troubled lyricist of film and Broadway fame. Marmorstein has done an enormous service for fans of stage and movie musicals of the early decades of the 20th century. . . . ‘Ev’rything I’ve got belongs to you,’ goes one ...

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