This time, I would like to talk about the MGM musical Broadway Melody of 1936, starring Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell, and Robert Taylor.
As to plot, Bob Gordon (Robert Taylor) is planning a new show, but since he is short of funds, he has to go to Lilian Brent (June Knight). Newspaperman Bert Keeler (Jack Benny) gets wind of this, and writes about it, angering Bob. Irene Foster (Eleanor Powell), an old classmate of Bob’s, comes to town, with hopes of getting a role in a show. Since Bob won’t consider her, due to their past together, she joins forces with Bob’s secretary Kitty (Una Merkel), in an attempt to get the role (helped unintentionally by Bert Keeler).
Getting past the plot, we can dig into the real fun of this movie, the music and the dancing! The music for this movie is provided by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown. This movie has five then-new songs: “Broadway Rhythm,” “I’ve Got A Feelin’ You’re Foolin’,” “You Are My Lucky Star,” “Sing Before Breakfast” and “On A Sunday Afternoon” (the first three songs were later reused, of course, in Singin’ in the Rain).
There are five dancers in this movie. Eleanor Powell, the primary dancer, does some tap dancing and ballet to the songs “Broadway Rhythm,” “Sing Before Breakfast” and “You Are My Lucky Star.” She is joined by Buddy Ebsen and his sister Vilma Ebsen (in her only onscreen appearance). They do some tap dancing to the songs “Sing Before Breakfast,” “On A Sunday Afternoon” and “Broadway Rhythm.” June Knight and Nick Long, Jr. provide some ballroom/ partnered dancing to “I’ve Got A Feelin’ You’re Foolin’ ” and “Broadway Rhythm.”
As far as my opinion on it goes, I think this is a VERY enjoyable movie. I personally think that this is the best score from Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown (in my opinion, even better than Singin’ in the Rain). I personally enjoy the songs “Sing Before Breakfast” and “I’ve Got A Feelin’ You’re Foolin’ ” (which particularly throws reality out the window more than the rest of the movie does).
I do enjoy the movie very much. The plot isn’t the most memorable, but the music and dancing more than make up for it. I definitely recommend giving this movie a chance!
The movie is available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection. Hope you get a chance to see it!
Film Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes
My Rating: 10/10
*ranked #9 in Top 11 Movies Watched in 2018
List Of Actor/Actress Filmographies/Collections
Jack Benny – To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
Eleanor Powell – Born To Dance (1936)
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