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You Are Too Beautiful

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You Are Too Beautiful

It's hard for most of today's audience to imagine why Al Jolson was once considered the world's greatest entertainer. Having taken a successful gamble by experimenting with sound in The Jazz Singer ( Warner Bros. 1927), he took another chance six years later with Hallelujah I'm a Bum (GB: Hallelujah I'm a Tramp) and flopped.

You Are Too Beautiful

Jolson plays a genial hobo who wanders happily around Central Park, neither seeking nor accepting honest employment. He is imbued with a sense of responsibility when he rescues pretty Madge Evans from committing suicide. Evans, suffering from amnesia, falls in love with Jolson, completely forgetting her "regular" beau, mayor Frank Morgan.

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Al Jolson

 

This is a charming film, with many attributes that make it commendable. Al Jolson's voice and singing are simply wonderful and this movie is good enough to see for the songs alone. The songs are snappy and cheery and if you'd like to be introduced to the famous Al Jolson, this is a good choice.

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Hallelujah I'm a Bum, poster

 

Rodgers music and Hart's lyrics are splendid, making this one of the most original, best written original musicals of all time. While the film features "songs," it also features dialog that is spoken to a beat and to a musical background. This film was an experiment in something the producers call "rhyming dialog". Today it would be called rap. Audiences didn't really take to it in 1933, but today's audience would probably appreciate it more.

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Al Jolson and Madge Evans

 

Rodgers and Hart wrote two songs in addition to the rhyming dialog, the title song and "You Are Too Beautiful". The latter is a nice romantic ballad that Jolson delivers well. Later on in the 1940s both Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra had primo versions of this song as well.

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Rodgers and Hart

 

You Are Too Beautiful introduced by Al Jolson in the 1933 is known to jazz fans from the treatment by Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane of 30 years later.

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Bing Crosby - You Are Too Beautiful

 

It is a unique musical for its time, and a welcome addition to Jolson's work. Certainly well worth viewing. But it still saddens me: if only Jolson could have made more films like this one.

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Hallelujah I'm a Bum, frame

 

You Are Too Beautiful


You are too beautiful, my dear, to be true
And I am too drunk with beauty
Drunk with a feeling that the arms that possess you
Really caress you too

You are too beautiful for one man alone
For one lucky fool to be with
When there are other men
With eyes of their own to see with

Love can not stand sharing
Not if one cares
You will be comparing
My every kiss with theirs

You know I care and I'll be faithful to you
Not through a sense of duty
You are too beautiful
And I am too drunk with beauty

Like all fools I believe what I want to believe
My foolish heart can see what foolish hearts can see
I thought I'd found a miracle, I thought that you adored me
But it was not a miracle it was merely a mirage before me

You are too beautiful, my dear, to be true
And I am too drunk with beauty
Drunk with a feeling that my arms that possess you
Really caress you too

You are too beautiful for one man alone
For one lucky fool to be with
When there are other men
With eyes of their own to see with

Love can not stand sharing
Not if one cares
You will be comparing
My every kiss with theirs

You know I care and I'll be faithful to you
Not through a sense of duty
You are too beautiful
And I am too drunk with beauty 

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Al Jolson

 

Last Updated (Thursday, 13 June 2013 19:22)

 

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