At Long Last Love, Peter Bogdanovich’s experiment with a mostly-singing 1930s upper-class romance, is a disappointing and embarrassing waste of talent.
Utilizing 16 Cole Porter songs, many of them not heard for years and all of them replete with additional lyrics hardly ever used, writer-producer-director Bogdanovich tries to float a bubble of gaiety involving three couples: bored playboy Reynolds with rent-hungry deb Cybill Shepherd; Broadway star Madeline Kahn and immigrant gambler Duilio Del Prete; and Eileen Brennan (Shepherd’s maid) and John Hillerman (Reynold’s urbane valet). The customary plot crises and romantic complications, recognized and adored by vintage film buffs, eventually resolve themselves.
The principals sang their numbers while being filmed, with orchestrations dubbed in later, in an attempt to eliminate the lifelessness of post-sync when it is done poorly. On the basis of this experiment, pre-recording can rest its case.