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An Appreciation of the movie De-Lovely, with Kevin Kline as Cole Porter

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But I've been a Kevin Kline fan since I first saw A Fish Called Wanda; not a movie-goer or even movie-watcher, mind you, and it's only been over the ensuing years that I've come to realize that Kline is a Shakespearian actor in Hollywood, much admired in Tinsel Town if not widely envied or loved for his acting in many and various roles. I also have very much my own taste in movies -- I couldn't even finish Sophie's Choice, a period-piece with both Kline and Meryl Streep playing utterly dated roles.

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But Kline hit artistic pay dirt again in De-Lovely, and I'm glad that I've found out why I grew up in America with the name Cole Porter, even largely in the absence of his music and totally in ignorance of personal information about him. My father fancied himself a poet, but that's about as close to being a "homosexual" as most of Texas put up with in the 20th century; and my mother, well she forsook a career as a journalist -- in the 1930's -- to marry a "rich man's son" and she followed my father's lead pretty much when it came to instilling values in my sister and me.

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But the movie!! The movie!! Not only was Cole Porter a wonderful pianist - he lost the use of his legs in a horse-riding accident later in life. And not only was he bisexual - in the movie his gay friends are much more effective and moving actors than his co-star, Ashley Judd.

Oscars 2009, Cates and Kline, by greginhollywood at Flickr

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)

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