Isn't It Romantic?

(lyrics: Lorenz Hart; music: Richard Rodgers)

FZ album(s) in which song has appeared

Tour(s) on which song is known to have been performed (main source: FZShows, v. 7.1)

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Marc De Bruyn (emdebe@village.uunet.be), September 7, 2003

"Isn't It Romantic?" was written by Lorenz "Larry" Hart (1895-1943, lyrics) and Richard Charles Rodgers (1902-1979, music), for the musical "Love Me Tonight" (1932), directed by Rouben Mamoulian, starring Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald; the song is not related to the movie "Isn't It Romantic?" (1948), directed by Norman Z. McLeod and starring Veronica Lake.

"Isn't It Romantic?" is featured on the soundtrack of "Day Of The Locust" (1975)—not for those who prefer to hang onto their illusions about the glory days of Hollywood -, based on the novel by Nathaniel West, directed by John Schlesinger, starring Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, Burgess Meredith, William Atherton, and Geraldine Page. Apparently it also appears in at least two of Preston Sturgeon's films, "The Lady Eve" (1941), starring Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, and "Palm Beach Story" (1942), Starring Claudette Colbert and Joel McCrea.

"I've never met you, yet never doubt, dear; / I can't forget you, I've thought you out, dear / I know your profile and I know the way you kiss, / just the things I miss on a night like this / If dreams are made of imagination / I'm not afraid of my own creation / With all my heart, my heart is here for you to take / Why should I quake? I'm not awake / Isn't it romantic? / Music in the night, a dream that can be heard / Isn't it romantic? / Moving shadows write the oldest magic word / I hear the breezes playing in the trees above / while all the world is saying you were meant for love / Isn't it romantic? / merely to be young on such a night as this? / Isn't it romantic? / Every note that's sung is like a lover's kiss / Sweet symbols in the moonlight, / do you mean that I will fall in love per chance? / Isn't it romance? / My face is glowing, I'm energetic / The art of sewing I found poetic / My needle punctuates the rhythm of romance / I don't give a stitch if I don't get rich / A custom tailor who has no custom / is like a sailor, no one will trust 'em / But there is magic in the music of my shears / I shed no tears, lend me your ears / Isn't it romantic? / Soon I will have found some girl that I adore / Isn't it romantic? / While I sit around my love can scrub the floor / She'll kiss me every hour or she'll get the sack / and when I take a shower she can scrub my back / Isn't it romantic? / On a moonlight night she'll cook me onion soup / Kiddies are romantic / and if we don't fight we soon will have a troupe / We'll help the population, / it's a duty that we owe to dear old France"
Isn't it romance?

Hart and Rodgers had different yet brilliantly-combining talents that left us twenty-eight shows, eight movies and over 550 songs—a serious legacy.

Hart was one of the finest lyricists in the history of American musical theater; he is largely responsible for elevating the process of writing lyrics into an art form: before Hart, lyrics were usually trite and predictable with simplistic rhymes such as "I am blue, and so are you". Hart wrote lyrics that were cerebral and sophisticated; his compositions were infused with wit and wisdom; he used complex rhymes. An example from "My Funny Valentine": "Your looks are laughable, unphotographable. Yet you're my favorite work of art. Is your figure less than Greek? Is your mouth a little weak? When you open it to speak, are you smart?" Another example from "Bewitched": "I'm wild again, beguiled again, a whimpering simpering child again..." And yet another example from "Lady is a Tramp": "She gets too hungry for dinner at eight. She likes the theater but never comes late. She never bothers with people she hates. That's why the lady is a tramp". Hart could be wistful and romantic; he's lyrics are consistently observant and very often ingenious: they are the perfect match for the variety and intricacy of Rodgers' superb music. Some other tunes by Rodgers and Hart: "Where Or When", "Falling In Love With Love", "I Didn't Know What Time It Was", "It Never Entered My Mind", and "Blue Moon" (their only "pop song").

Rodgers' contributions to the musical theatre of his day were extraordinary, and his influence on the musical theatre of today and tomorrow is legendary. His career spanned more than six decades, and his hits ranged from the silver screens of Hollywood to the bright lights of Broadway, London and beyond. He was the recipient of countless awards, including Pulitzers, Tonys, Oscars, Grammys and Emmys. He wrote more than 900 published songs, and forty Broadway musicals. When Rodgers later joined forces with lyricist and author Oscar Hammerstein II, they created "Oklahoma!" (1943), "Carousel" (1945), "South Pacific" (1949), "The King And I" (1951), The Sound Of Music (1959), and many more. In 1999 Rodgers & Hammerstein were commemorated on a US postage stamp, as was Hart.

"Isn't It Romantic?" was also recorded by Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Carmen McRae, Chet Baker, Coleman Hawkins, Cy Coleman, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Michael Feinstein, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Peggy Lee, and Tony Bennett.

 

Conceptual Continuity

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