IMDb > Born to Dance (1936)
Born to Dance
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Born to Dance (1936) More at IMDbPro »

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6.8/10   986 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 84% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jack McGowan (screen play) and
Sid Silvers (screen play) ...
View company contact information for Born to Dance on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
27 November 1936 (USA) See more »
M*G*M's successor to "THE GREAT ZIEGFELD" See more »
Sailor Ted meets at the Lonely Hearts Club of his friend Gunny's wife, Jenny, a girl, Nora Paige, and falls in love... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more »
User Reviews:
great dance musical See more (32 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Eleanor Powell ... Nora Paige

James Stewart ... Ted Barker

Virginia Bruce ... Lucy James

Una Merkel ... Jenny Saks
Sid Silvers ... 'Gunny' Saks

Frances Langford ... 'Peppy' Turner

Raymond Walburn ... Captain Dingby

Alan Dinehart ... McKay

Buddy Ebsen ... 'Mush' Tracy

Juanita Quigley ... Sally Saks
Georges ... Himself,
Jalna ... Herself

Reginald Gardiner ... Policeman

Barnett Parker ... Floorwalker
J. Marshall Smith ... Member of The Foursome
L. Dwight Snyder ... Member of The Foursome
Jay Johnson ... Member of The Foursome (as Ray Johnson)
Del Porter ... Member of The Foursome
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
The Foursome ... Sailor Quartette

Monica Bannister ... Waitress at Lonely Hearts Club (uncredited)
Bonnie Bannon ... Waitress at Lonely Hearts Club (uncredited)

Barbara Bedford ... Hector's Secretary (uncredited)
Charles Bennett ... Quartet Member (uncredited)
Joseph Bjorndahl ... Solo Bit in 'Entrance of Lucy James' Number (uncredited)
Anita Brown ... Anita - Lucy's Maid (uncredited)
Charles Coleman ... Club Continental Waiter (uncredited)
Zebedy Colt ... Boy Piano Player (uncredited)

Eddie Constantine ... Sailor (uncredited)
Diane Cook ... Girl at Lonely Hearts Club (uncredited)
Jacqueline Daix ... Chorine (uncredited)
Mary Dees ... Chorine (uncredited)
Gay DeLys ... Chorine (uncredited)
Ernie Feutz ... Quartet Member (uncredited)

James Flavin ... Ship's Officer (uncredited)
Otto Fries ... Quartet Member (uncredited)
Sig Frohlich ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Sugar Geise ... Dancer (uncredited)
Wesley Giraud ... Newsboy (uncredited)

Peter Gowland ... Dancer (uncredited)

Jonathan Hale ... Hector the Columnist (uncredited)
Sherry Hall ... Cameraman (uncredited)
Maynard Holmes ... Lonely Hearts Patron Drinking Soda (uncredited)
David S. Horsley ... Sailor (uncredited)
Shep Houghton ... Dancer (uncredited)
Alice Jans ... Chorine (uncredited)
Edna Mae Jones ... Chorine (uncredited)
Jean Joyce ... Chorine (uncredited)
Leona Keene ... Acrobat (uncredited)
Naomi Keene ... Acrobat (uncredited)
John Kelly ... Recruiting Officer (uncredited)
George King ... Assistant Stage Manager (uncredited)
Ralph Leon ... Solo Bit in 'Entrance of Lucy James' Number (uncredited)
Wally Maher ... Reporter (uncredited)
Joe Mandel ... Acrobat (uncredited)
William Mandel ... Acrobat (uncredited)
Douglas McPhail ... Solo Bit in 'Entrance of Lucy James' Number (uncredited)
Norman Nielson ... Solo Bit in 'Entrance of Lucy James' Number (uncredited)

Dennis O'Keefe ... Dancer (uncredited)
Franklin Parker ... Reporter (uncredited)
Wanda Perry ... Guest at Lonely Hearts Club (uncredited)
Gus Reed ... Quartet Member (uncredited)
Geraldine Robertson ... Chorine (uncredited)

Harry Strang ... Sailor (uncredited)

Charles Trowbridge ... Model Home Spokesman (uncredited)

Helen Troy ... McKay's Telephone Operator (uncredited)

John Tyrrell ... Reporter (uncredited)
Jean Vernon ... Chorine (uncredited)
Allan Watson ... Solo Bit in 'Entrance of Lucy James' Number (uncredited)

Bobby Watson ... Costume Designer and Assistant Stage Manager (uncredited)

June Wilkins ... Girl at Lonely Hearts Club (uncredited)
Ginger Wyatt ... Chorine (uncredited)

Directed by
Roy Del Ruth 
Writing credits
Jack McGowan (screen play) and
Sid Silvers (screen play)

Jack McGowan (from a story by) &
Sid Silvers (from a story by) and
Buddy G. DeSylva (from a story by) (as B.G. DeSylva)

Produced by
Jack Cummings .... producer
Cinematography by
Ray June (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Blanche Sewell (film editor)
Art Direction by
Cedric Gibbons 
Costume Design by
Adrian (gowns)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William J. Scully .... assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Edwin B. Willis .... associate art director
Joseph C. Wright .... associate art director (as Joseph Wright)
Sound Department
Douglas Shearer .... recording director
William Steinkamp .... sound (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Eddie Croninworth .... still photographer (uncredited)
George Hommel .... still photographer (uncredited)
Music Department
Leo Arnaud .... choral arrangements
Roger Edens .... musical arrangements
Alfred Newman .... musical director
Cole Porter .... words and music by
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (as Edward Powell)
Merrill Pye .... musical presentation
Delos Jewkes .... singing voice: "Rolling Home" number (uncredited)
Marjorie Lane .... singing voice: Miss Powell (uncredited)
Other crew
Dave Gould .... dance ensembles
Harvey S. Haislip .... marine advisor (as Harvey S. Haislip Commander U.S.N. Ret.)
Marilyn Kinsley .... stand-in: Miss Powell (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
106 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Finland:S | UK:U | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #2707) | USA:TV-G (TV rating)

Did You Know?

According to the biography "Beyond the Rainbow", this film was at one point to have included a role for Judy Garland.See more »
Continuity: In the finale, the big gun barrels remain covered until the final close-up of Eleanor Powell, after which, via a clever, but noticeable edit, they now suddenly appear uncovered and explode.See more »
Ted Baker:Hello.
Nora Paige:Hello, what's the thing about?
Ted Baker:Well, boy meets girl.
Nora Paige:Oh, I see. Well, boy loses girl.
Ted Baker:Boy gets girl back.
Nora Paige:Not so fast, sailor.
Ted Baker:You're not very patriotic.
Nora Paige:I am, but I'm not uniform-crazy.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in M-G-M Jubilee Overture (1954)See more »
Love Me, Love My PekineseSee more »


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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful.
great dance musical, 24 November 2006
Author: blanche-2 from United States

Eleanor Powell has come to New York to make it, and make it she does in "Born to Dance," a 1936 musical also starring James Stewart, Virginia Bruce, Buddy Ebsen, Una Merkel, and Sid Silvers.

There's not much of a story, and not much of one is needed. Newcomer to the big city Nora Paige (Powell) meets sailor Ted (Stewart). They fall in love; meanwhile, she gets into a show understudying the lead, the great Lucy James (Bruce). Ted saves Lucy's Pekinese when it jumps into the water, and the producers use that for publicity, cooking up a romance between Ted and Lucy. Nora is heartbroken, believing that Ted is cheating on her. They fight. Lucy ends up walking out of the show; Powell then becomes the star - you can guess the rest.

Certainly this is a wonderful score, one of the best, with the wonderful "Easy to Love," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Rolling Home," "Rap-Tap on Wood," and others. The surprise of the cast is James Stewart, singing in a Fred Astaire sort of way - he's delightful, very musical, with a sweet voice that goes well with his boyish demeanor.

Eleanor Powell is one of the great film tap dancers, and she gets to do a lot of numbers. She's a very pretty woman with a wide smile. I find her non-tap work a little odd, as her choreography always seems to include a front kick which looks awkward. It's the kind of move that non-dancers like Raquel Welch do in nightclub acts and it doesn't really suit Powell. She is a very likable presence and it's really fireworks when she gets a-tappin'! Una Merkel, Sid Silvers, et al. provide excellent support and good comedy, which is abundant in the script that makes the most of dialogue even if the story is thin. Virginia Bruce is great as the glamorous Broadway star. She performs "I've Got You Under My Skin," beautifully.

Stewart sings "Easy to Love," and I can still remember the look on Carol Burnett's face when he sang it to her many years ago, I believe on her TV show. She spoke of going to the movies with her grandmother and watching him on the screen. To have him sing that song to her was an overwhelming moment. It's one of the nicest scenes in the film, too, to see this tremendous star when he was so young and fresh.

This is simply a wonderful walk - or should I say tap - down memory lane. Don't miss it.

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