Classic Movie Legend Tribute: Irving Berlin

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Songwriting Legend, Irving Berlin, born May 11 in 1888!

George Gershwin once said that Irving Berlin was “the greatest songwriter that has ever lived”.  That is no small compliment!!!  And how could I possible argue with the great George Gershwin?  I couldn’t — and I certainly wouldn’t — because for me, Irving Berlin, along with Cole Porter and George Gershwin, are the ‘trifecta’ composers of  20th Century American Popular Music, bar none. Again, no small compliment…

That said, I could list the hundreds of popular Berlin songs that ‘everybody’ knows and loves (White Christmas, God Bless America, Easter Parade, How Deep is the Ocean, What’ll I Do, Blue Skies, Always, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, to name a very few) — but instead I am going to post just a few of my favorites, from films of course.

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For me, this wouldn’t be a ‘proper’ Irving Berlin post if I didn’t start with the iconic Fred and Ginger dancing to “Cheek to Cheek” in Top Hat ! Beautiful, in every respect…

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing to Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” in Top Hat (1935, Mark Sandrich, director)

“Heaven, I’m in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak…”

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Now for something a little more obscure, but eloquent and touching none-the-less… this time from Follow the Fleet sung by Harriet Hilliard with tears in her eyes…

Harriet Hilliard singing Irving Berlin’s “But Where are You?” in Follow the Fleet (1936, Mark Sandrich)

“Have you forgotten the night that we met? With so much to remember, how could you forget? The dreams I dreamed have yet to come true. My dreams and I are here but where are you?”

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And now just for some pure fun, a little something from Annie Get Your Gun!

Betty Hutton singing Irving Berlin’s “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” from Annie Get Your Gun (1950, George Sidney director)

“I’m quick on the trigger, with targets not much bigger than a pinpoint I’m number one, but my score with a feller is lower than a celler! Oh you can’t get a man with a gun!”

“Cause you can’t shoot a male in the tail like a quail! Oh you can’t get a man with a gun!”

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–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

 

 

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