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Lovely to Look At

Written: 1935

Music by: Jerome Kern

Words by: Dorothy Fields

Written for: Roberta
(movie, 1935)

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On the Main Stage at Cafe Songbook


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Oscar Peterson
with Ray Brown, double bass; Oscar Peterson, piano;
Ed Thigpen, drums.

Performing

"Lovely to Look At"

From the LP Oscar Peterson Plays the Jerome Kern Songbook, recorded July 14 - August 9, 1959, produced by Norman Granz for Verve Records.

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"Lovely To Look At"

Critics Corner || Lyrics Lounge

About the Show and Movie, Roberta



Roberta
(movie -- DVD)



Alyn Shipton,
I Feel a Song Coming On: The Life of Jimmy McHugh,
University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 2009

 

The title "Lovely to Look" and its lyrics were written for the movie version of Roberta (1935), not for the earlier Broadway show of the same title (1933) of which the film was an adaptation. Pandro Berman the film's producer knew that Kern had written a sixteen bar melody (instead of the typical 32 bars common to the song form) for the Broadway show that had not been used, and for which Otto Harbach, the show's lyricist, had never written words. Berman needed another song for the movie, one to accompany a fashion show, so he asked Dorothy Fields, who had written the lyrics for other songs unique to the movie, to provide a lyric to Kern's music. She complied but said:

Would you believe that Berman had the temerity to film the new number and then send the sixteen bar song to Mr. Kern? It took a lot of guts to put one over on a man as eminent and discriminating as Jerome Kern. I heard he was very severe and critical, [but] he was a dream. One day at lunch I asked him why "Lovely to Look At" had only sixteen bars, and Kern replied, "Because that was all I had to say" (Alan Shipton, I Feel a Song Coming On: The Life of Jimmy McHugh, pp. 134-135).

Shipton goes on to note that at the time Fields wrote this lyric both she and her long time writing partner Jimmy Mchugh were under "joint contract" to RKO, the studio that produced the movie, and so his name appears on "Lovely to Look At" along with hers as co-lyricist despite the fact that the lyric was written entirely by Fields.


Performed by Irene Dunne, "Lovely To Look At" in its debut in the 1935 movie Roberta. You will recognize Fred Astaire more or less conducting the orchestra and Randolf Scott eyeing Dunne while she's singing.

 

The remainder of this section is in preparation.

Other songs written for Roberta currently included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook:

1. I Won't Dance (movie only -- show version with lyrics by Otto Harbach not included in Cafe Songbook catalog)

2. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (show and movie)

3. The Touch of Your Hand (show only)

4. Yesterdays (show and movie)

 

 

For a complete listing of songs used in the original production of the show, see IBDB song list.

 

For a complete listing of songs used in the movie, see IMDB soundtrack.

 


Ultimate Collectors Edition
(box set including all of the Astaire / Rogers movies)

Critics Corner
  When Kern and Fields were working on "Lovely To Look At" for the score of Roberta and he had finished playing it through for her for the first time, she commented that it was indeed beautiful but asked why it was so short. "I had nothing more to say," Kern replied.
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Lyrics Lounge

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Credits

("Lovely to Look At" page)

 

Credits for Videomakers of custom videos used on this page:

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Any other images that appear on CafeSongbook.com pages are either in the public domain or appear through the specific permission of their owners. Such permission will be acknowledged in this space on the page where the image is used.

 

For further information on Cafe Songbook policies with regard to the above matters, see our "About Cafe Songbook" page (link at top and bottom of every page).

This section is currently incomplete.

The Cafe Songbook
Record/Video Cabinet:
Selected Recordings of

"Lovely To Look At"


(All Record/Video Cabinet entries below
include a music-video
of this page's featured song.
The year given is for when the studio
track was originally laid down
or when the live performance was given.)

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  • Performer 2 (year)

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