Alan Jay Lerner (librettist) and Frederick “Fritz” Loewe (composer) wrote ten musicals together, but those shows contained some of the most memorable songs of all time. They met at the Lambs Club in 1942; Loewe was on his way to the restroom, saw Lerner, and asked him if he wrote lyrics, which Lerner confirmed. Lerner was definitely the more dominant member of the team, often rejecting Loewe’s music even though it was perfect, believing that Loewe could do better. Nevertheless, the two men considered each other the best of friends.
First on the list today is “The Night They Invented Champagne,” from the 1958 movie Gigi starring Leslie Caron, Louis Jourdan, Maurice Chevalier, and Hermione Gingold. Ms. Caron’s voice was dubbed by Betty Wand for the movie, but here we’re treated to her own voice.
Lerner and Loewe wrote the musical Paint Your Wagon in 1951, and it was adapted for the screen in 1969 by Paddy Chayefsky. The critics didn’t like the film, which ran close to three hours, and despite being one of the highest-grossing films of 1969, it didn’t cover the cost of making it. It starred Lee Marvin, Clint Eastwood, and Jean Seberg; Marvin and Eastwood sang their own numbers, while Seberg’s voice was dubbed. “Wandrin’ Star,” sung by Marvin, became a hit in the UK and Ireland in 1969. Marvin is not generally regarded as a singer, but I don’t think anyone could have done a better job of singing it.
I’ve skipped over several of their more popular and well-known musicals, including Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, and Camelot. Each of them could easily provide the music for a Two for Tuesday all by themselves. Maybe that will be a future series on Two for Tuesday, songs from musicals…
Lerner and Loewe, your Two for Tuesday, September 8, 2015.