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Biography : Hollywood

In the early 1930s, Hollywood was an irresistible magnet for top songwriters. Cinema was booming and bursting with confidence following the advent of the talkies, while popular theatrical entertainment was facing the dual threat of competition with movies, and the Depression.

During the decade McHugh and Fields wrote songs for over a dozen films. Despite being based in Hollywood, they also undertook several projects for Broadway revues. An amusing article from Popular Songs in 1935 interviews the pair at this time.

Significantly Dorothy branched out to begin working with other composers – a single song with Max Steiner, four songs with music by Fritz Kreisler (although the

collaborators never met), three songs with Oscar Levant, and most importantly, several collaborations with Jerome Kern.

Some of the Kern collaborations were for film operettas, a style which never suited Dorothy's talents. However one film with Kern represents the summit of her Hollywood achievements – the glorious Swing Time, starring Fred and Ginger.

This movie introduced the simple and tender The Way You Look Tonight , the exhilarating Pick Yourself Up , and the sardonic and frustrated A Fine Romance . Two solo numbers for Fred Astaire dances, Never Gonna Dance and Bojangles of Harlem are also wonderful songs. The Way You Look Tonight won Kern and Fields an Oscar.

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