Original Soundtrack

Anything Goes (A Decca Broadway Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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The 1934 Broadway musical Anything Goes, with songs by Cole Porter, has been much abused in its two motion picture adaptations, both starring Bing Crosby, one issued in 1936 and the other in 1956. The 1936 version retained a semblance of the original plot in its screenplay along with four songs from the show plus four non-Porter interpolations. The 1956 version had an entirely new story; four songs from the show, three of them with updated, bowdlerized lyrics (courtesy of an uncredited Ted Fetter); one song ("It's De-Lovely") interpolated from another Porter show; and three new songs written by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen. Also, the entire score had new, 1950s-style big-band arrangements. The result is an embarrassing soundtrack. (And, by the way, some of these tracks are actually studio recordings, not the versions heard in the film itself; hence the cover subtitle "Songs from the Paramount Picture.") There is a lot of talent on display here, starting with Crosby in his avuncular mood, throwing in asides everywhere and interacting closely with co-stars Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor. O'Connor makes less of an impression, though he and Gaynor turn in a nice interpretation of "It's De-Lovely." Still, the Cahn-Van Heusen songs are not from their top drawer, and the lyrical revisions to Porter are teeth-grating, with a reference to television, for example, and with the '50s sanitization that even includes changing the phrase "four-letter words" to the meaningless "three-letter words." The garish arrangements do neither Porter nor Van Heusen any favors and are in contrast to the more easygoing vocal performances. But listening is still better than actually watching the film. For the 2004 CD reissue, Decca Broadway has added 1936 Crosby studio recordings of three of those interpolations to the first movie version, among them the Hoagy Carmichael composition "Moonburn." The additions have the effect of making this one of the strangest collections in existence of music associated with Cole Porter but not actually written by him.

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