7.4/10
1,684
47 user 15 critic

Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)

Passed | | Musical | 9 February 1940 (USA)
Johnny Brett and King Shaw are an unsuccessful dance team in New York. A producer discovers Brett as the new partner for Clare Bennett, but Brett, who thinks he is one of the people they lent money to gives him the name of his partner.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Bob Gordon is staging a new Broadway Show, but he is short of money. He gets an offer of money by the young widow Lilian, if she can dance in his new show. Bert Keeler, a paper man, gets ... See full summary »

Directors: Roy Del Ruth, W.S. Van Dyke
Stars: Jack Benny, Eleanor Powell, Robert Taylor
Certificate: Passed Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Steve Raleight wants to produce a show on Broadway. He finds a backer, Herman Whipple and a leading lady, Sally Lee. But Caroline Whipple forces Steve to use a known star, not a newcomer. ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: Robert Taylor, Eleanor Powell, George Murphy
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A successful but constantly-feuding husband and wife musical comedy team threatens to break up when the wife entertains an offer to become a serious actress.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Oscar Levant
Carefree (1938)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A psychiatrist agrees to hypnotize his friend's girlfriend in order to convince her to accept his proposals of marriage, but she ends up falling for the psychiatrist instead.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ralph Bellamy
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of married couple Irene Castle and Vernon Castle, sensational ballroom dancers prior to World War I.

Director: H.C. Potter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edna May Oliver
Roberta (1935)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In Paris, a man clueless about fashion suddenly inherits his aunt's dress shop, while his bandleader friend reunites with his old flame.

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A budding romance between a ballet master and a tap dancer becomes complicated when rumors surface that they're already married.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Edward Everett Horton
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After his wife discovers a telltale diamond bracelet, impresario Martin Cortland tries to show he's not chasing after showgirl Sheila Winthrop. Choreographer Robert Curtis gets caught in ... See full summary »

Director: Sidney Lanfield
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Robert Benchley
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Lady Alyce Marshmorton must marry soon, and the staff of Tottney Castle have laid bets on who she'll choose, with young Albert wagering on "Mr. X." After Alyce goes to London to meet a beau... See full summary »

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Navy sailor tries to rekindle a romance with the woman he loves while on liberty in San Francisco.

Director: Mark Sandrich
Stars: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Randolph Scott
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In squeaky-clean New York at the turn of the century, playboy Charlie Hill falls so much in love that he can walk on air. The object of his affections is beautiful Angela Bonfils, a mission... See full summary »

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, Marjorie Main
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The late, great impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. looks down from Heaven and ordains a new revue in his grand old style.

Directors: Lemuel Ayers, Roy Del Ruth, and 5 more credits »
Stars: William Powell, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Bert C. Matthews
...
Amy Blake
...
Emmy Lou Lee
...
Pearl
...
Juggler
Edit

Storyline

Johnny Brett and King Shaw are an unsuccessful dance team in New York. A producer discovers Brent as the new partner for Clare Bennett, but Brett, who thinks he is one of the people they lent money to gives him the name of his partner. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Eleanor Powell - Fred Astaire - In The Finest Broadway Melody Of Them All

Genres:

Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 February 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Broadway qui danse  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The screenplay was based on a story by Jack McGowan and Dore Schary. Schary would go on to become head of MGM in the 1950s. See more »

Goofs

When Johnny substitutes for King at the last minute, the costume fits the much smaller Johnny perfectly. See more »

Quotes

Johnny Brett: [singing] So, move Grant's Tomb to Union Square / and put Brooklyn anywhere / but please, please / I'm down on my knees / don't monkey with Broadway!
See more »


Soundtracks

Sobre las Olas (Over the Waves)
(1887) (uncredited)
Written by Juventino Rosas
Played during the Trixie Firschke juggling act
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

The Melody Lingers On
10 November 2001 | by (Kissimmee, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Broadway Melody of 1940 (MGM, 1940) directed by Norman Taurog, with choreography by Bobby Connolly, is the fourth and final musical to bear the "Broadway Melody" name. While the final chapter to any film series usually turns out to be the least successful and appreciated, the last "Broadway Melody" concludes on a very high note. To me it ranks the best of all the "Broadway Melody" musicals mainly because of the fine Cole Porter score and the dancing chemistry between Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell. Let's not forget the third member of the dancing trio, George Murphy.

The plot is simple: Johnny Brett (Fred Astaire) and King Shaw (George Murphy) are a dance team in New York's Dawnland Ballroom. When Bob Casey (Frank Morgan), a well-known musical show author, present at one of their performances, sees the men doing a dance number, he decides he wants to feature one of them, Johnny, in an upcoming show starring professional dancer, Clare Bennett (Eleanor Powell), however, Johnny mistakes Casey as a process server on the trail of King's dress suit, so he identifies himself as his partner, causing King Shaw to get the job instead. Johnny, who is is secretly in love with Clare, regrets his missed opportunity in dancing opposite her when he realizes what he has done, but being a true person looking out for his friend, Johnny is glad for King's show biz break. However, when success goes to Shaw's head instead of his feet, it's up to Johnny to set him straight.

Aside from Frank Morgan's bumbling confusion and female troubles which add to the comedy, there are other amusing scenes in the story, mostly involving acrobat(s), one in particular doing her juggling with plates and balls which involves Astaire. Also in the cast are Ian Hunter as Bert Matthews, the show's producer; Florence Rice, Lynne Carver and Ann Morriss in smaller roles. The well composed Cole Porter score includes: "Don't Monkey With Broadway" (sung and danced by Fred Astaire and George Murphy); "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep" (Sung and danced by Eleanor Powell with sailors); "Between You and Me" (sung by Murphy, danced by Murphy and Powell); "I've Got My Eyes on You" (sung and danced by Astaire); "Juke Box Dance" (performed by Astaire and Powell); "I Concentrate on You" (sung by Douglas MacPhail, danced by Astaire and Powell); "Begin the Beguine" (sung by Carmen D'Antonio; danced by Astaire and Powell; reprise by The Music Maids); and "I Got My Eyes on You" (sung by chorus; danced by Astaire, Powell and Murphy).

Broadway MELODY OF 1940 became Fred Astaire's first MGM musical since his minor debut in DANCING LADY (1933). After ten musicals at RKO Radio, nine with Ginger Rogers during the 1933-39 period, Astaire was now ready for the big time at MGM, starting off here with lavish sets, glittering black and white photography and shining dance floors, adding to the Astaire style of movie making. Had this Broadway MELODY edition been choreographed by Busby Berkeley, who had recently recruited to MGM from Warner Brothers, the "Begin the Beguine" number would have found Astaire and Powell sharing the grand finale spotlight with close to 100 dancers. Fortunately it wasn't, leaving Astaire and Powell to have the grand finale, lasting about ten minutes, practically all to themselves. Who else but Astaire could have the focus on him and his dancing partner for that length of time and make it so watchable and memorable. The number that precedes that, "I Concentrate on You" in which Astaire and Powell play masked dancers, is also well staged but underrated.

Even for those not familiar with musicals involving creative dancing and a fine score, this movie is sure one to see. As Frank Sinatra once said while narrating over one of the musical numbers of THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT (1974), "You'll never see the likes of this again." It's a shame to say that musicals such as this are now extinct, but fortunately, this, along with the other Broadway Melodies, can be seen and appreciated on cable's Turner Classic Movies or as a video rental or purchase. "Who do you love?" (***1/2)


28 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?