Caught in the Act


John Wallowitch has made a career of composing highly credible, if perhaps less than distinctive, would-be pop standards. Now in his seventies and an old pro on the cabaret circuit, he expresses disappointment at never being offered his own Broadway show, but no matter, he’s clearly in it for the love of the game. Watching Robert Morris’s warm tribute of simply edited interviews and performance clips, one is inclined to give an old dog his day and make some excessive claim, painting him as, say, the unsung Cole Porter. Bertrand Ross, Wallowitch’s reticent partner, gets less airtime. Ross has less to do onstage as well, but he was once a remarkable dancer, Martha Graham’s leading man. The romance between the two men, assumed though never stated as such, is the subtext that sustains both the film and the act. The pleasure of watching them perform has much to do with their own enjoyment, which, in turn, clearly owes much to the fact that they are performing together. Cole Porter or not, it’s hard not to be moved by Wallowitch’s “My Love Went to London” after watching the tears well up in his eyes as he recalls Ross’s trip to London, which separated the two soon after they had met.