Broadway Melody of 1940 by Norman Taurog |Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, George Murphy | 883316995679 | DVD | Barnes & Noble
Broadway Melody of 1940

Broadway Melody of 1940

Director: Norman Taurog

Cast: Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, George Murphy

     
 

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MGM's third follow-up to its landmark Broadway Melody is short on story, but that's okay, since the plot is merely a clothesline upon which to hang sleek and opulent musical production numbers by Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell -- particularly a breathless and eye-popping gloriously black-and-white six-minute tap dance finale between Astaire and Powell to Cole

Overview

MGM's third follow-up to its landmark Broadway Melody is short on story, but that's okay, since the plot is merely a clothesline upon which to hang sleek and opulent musical production numbers by Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell -- particularly a breathless and eye-popping gloriously black-and-white six-minute tap dance finale between Astaire and Powell to Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." The tale itself is a typical backstage contrivance: Johnny Brett (Fred Astaire) and King Shaw (George Murphy) are a couple of hoofers working in a dance hall for peanuts. Due to mistaken identity, King gets tapped for the lead in a Broadway show opposite big star Clare Bennett (Eleanor Powell) rather than Johnny. But when King drowns his trouble in booze on opening night, Johnny covers for him, taking his place in the show.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Broadway Melody of 1940 proves that a musical can be first-rate entertainment even with a script that is, to put it politely, "familiar." Ideally, of course, one wishes to have a story that is fresh, a screenplay that is literate and witty, and characters that surprise one with their doings. Melody offers none of this, and by all rights should be consigned to the ranks of the moderately entertaining but not memorable. And yet Melody is memorable, if for nothing else than for the firecracker pairing of the irreplaceable Fred Astaire with the indomitable Eleanor Powell. The two are not a natural match, as Astaire and Rogers were; their styles don't mesh to form one whole, but at the same time they don't clash. What one gets are two forces of nature enjoying a friendly competition with each other, with the audience the clear winner. Melody's most famous set piece is the incredible "Begin the Beguine" sequence, and it is definitely huge and inescapably impressive -- just take a gander at that floor, glimmering like the sheerest black ice. Yet the best number is arguably the quieter but simply captivating jukebox dance sequence, which grows more powerful with each repeated viewing. Cole Porter's scrumptious score also includes the delicious "I Concentrate on You," as well as the infectious "Don't Monkey Around with Broadway" and several others. George Murphy is also on hand to offer bland support, along with some hoofing that is far from bland, and there's also an able assist from the likes of Frank Morgan. Melody sags a bit in between songs, but when it's singing and dancing, it's a doozy.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/11/2014
UPC:
0883316995679
Original Release:
1940
Rating:
NR
Source:
Warner Archives
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sales rank:
8,081

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred Astaire Johnny Brett
Eleanor Powell Clara Bennett
George Murphy King Shaw
Frank Morgan Bob Casey
Ian Hunter Bert C. Matthews
Florence Rice Amy Blake
Lynne Carver Emmy Lou Lee
Ann Morriss Pearl
Trixie Firschke Juggler
Douglas McPhail Masked Singer
Barbara Jo Allen Receptionist [uncredited]
Irving Bacon Soda Jerk
Herman Bing Silhouettist
Gladys Blake Miss Martin
George Chandler Mr. Jones
Chick Collins Sailor
Joseph Crehan Ballroom Manager
Carmen D'Antonio Soprano
Hal K. Dawson O'Grady
Mary Field Bride
James Flavin Ballroom Worker
Jack Mulhall George
William Tannen Emmy Lou's Friend
Libby Taylor Angel
E. Alyn Warren Pop
Joe Yule Dan

Technical Credits
Norman Taurog Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Bobby Connolly Choreography
Jack Cummings Producer
Walter de Leon Screenwriter
John S. Detlie Art Director
Roger Edens Score Composer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Leon Gordon Screenwriter
Vincent Lawrence Screenwriter
Albert Mannheimer Screenwriter
Oliver Marsh Cinematographer
Jack McGowan Original Story
Eddie Moran Screenwriter
Alfred Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
George Oppenheimer Screenwriter
Cole Porter Score Composer
Walter Ruick Score Composer
Joseph Ruttenberg Cinematographer
Dore Schary Original Story
Blanche Sewell Editor
Douglas Shearer Sound/Sound Designer
Sid Silvers Screenwriter
Preston Sturges Screenwriter
Irene Valles Costumes/Costume Designer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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