Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alexander's Ragtime Band

Yet another Fox movie is showing up on TCM tonight: Alexander's Ragtime Band, kicking the night off at 8:00 PM ET. I've already blogged about it, and almost everything I'd want to say about it I said back in July, 2008.

One point I didn't mention back then is that, although it's got a lot of the songs of Irving Berlin, one that it doesn't have is "Puttin' on the Ritz". Originally used in a 1930 movie of the same name, "Puttin' on the Ritz" had a different set of lyrics than the ones that are well known today. (After all, Gary Cooper wasn't really that famous back in 1930.) The original lyrics refer to the black hired help strutting around on their night off, and perhaps the folks at Fox didn't want to use it for whatever reason. MGM, however, had no qualms about having Clark Gable sing it in Idiot's Delight a year later, with the original lyrics. The lyrics that are famous today were reworked by Berlin so that he could include the song in the 1946 movie Blue Skies, where Fred Astaire does a famous dance to "Puttin' on the Ritz". It should be pointed out that the song "Blue Skies" is not original to the 1946 film; indeed, it's one of the many to show up in Alexander's Ragtime Band.

No comments: