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Bob Gordon is staging a new Broadway Show, but he is short of money. He gets an offer of money by the young widow Lillian, if she can dance in his new show. Bert Keeler, a newspaper man, gets this information and is writing about this in his column in an slightly unfriendly way. Gordon's old class mate Irene Forster, a tap dancer from Albany also tries to get the leading role in this show, but Lillian insists in getting this part herself. So Irene Forster, Bert Keeler and Gordon's secretary Kitty start a little game to get Irene the leading role.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
At approximately 6:45, Snoop (Sid Silvers) looks out of the window of Bert Keeler (Jack Benny)'s Manhattan office, checking out a penthouse party on a rooftop below but casting a shadow on an overly-lit scrim meant to simulate panes of window glass between him and a painted backdrop of New York. See more »
The plot of Broadway MELODY OF 1936 is a classic of its kind. Bob Gordon (popular matinée idol Robert Taylor) is producing a Broadway musical--but he runs afoul of actress and financial backer Lilly Brent (June Knight), who sees herself not only as the star of the show but Bob's ladylove as well. When their "romance" is played up by gossip columnist Bert Keeler (Jack Benny) fireworks ensue, and matters are further complicated by the arrival of Bob's old flame Irene Foster (Eleanor Powell) who has come to make her fortune as a dancer on the Great White Way.
The twists and turns of the story are fairly obvious and the outcome is a foregone conclusion--like many Hollywood musicals of the mid-1930s the story really exists as an excuse for comic turns and musical numbers--but the film has a great deal of charm and catches a host of performers moving up to stardom. The big news here is Eleanor Powell and Jack Benny, both fairly new to film and both somewhat stiff in front of the camera... but whatever their faults in this film there's no denying that Powell clearly poised to become a great musical star or that Benny is a comic genius in the making.
Powell, Taylor, and Benny are backed by a truly solid host of character actors and cameo performers, most notably Sid Silvers, Una Merkle, Frances Langford, and Harry Stockwell. But most film buffs will be particularly interested in the brother-sister team of Buddy and Vilma Ebsen, a popular vaudeville act; Vilma would soon retire, but Buddy's scruffy look, dunderheaded comedy, and hilariously eccentric dance style would propel him to a series of popular musicals and a very long career indeed. The musical numbers--which include such perennials as "Broadway Melody," "You are My Lucky Star," and "Gotta Feeling You're Fooling"--are all lots of fun to hear and see as well.
When all is said and done, Broadway MELODY OF 1936 is hardly a "classic musical;" it is too disjointed, too cliché in plot and character to measure up to the truly great musicals of the era. But it is quite a bit of fun, and hardcore 1930s musical fans should enjoy it quite a bit.
Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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