Sailor Ted meets at the Lonely Hearts Club of his friend Gunny's wife, Jenny, a girl, Nora Paige, and falls in love. Nora wants to become a dancer on Broadway. Ted rescues the Pekinese of ...
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Sailor Ted meets at the Lonely Hearts Club of his friend Gunny's wife, Jenny, a girl, Nora Paige, and falls in love. Nora wants to become a dancer on Broadway. Ted rescues the Pekinese of Lucy James, a Broadway star during a public relations campaign on his submarine. Lucy falls in love with Ted, and Ted is ordered by his Captain to meet her in a night club, in spite of the fact that he has a date with Nora. Nora, who lives with Jenny and her and Gunny's daughter, doesn't want to hear anything from Ted, after she spotted a picture of Ted and Lucy in the morning paper. Lucy convinces her manager Dinehart to stop the press campaign and tells him that she would leave the production, if another photo or article of her and Ted is published. Nora has become her understudy, and she begins to think her behaviour to Ted over. Suddenly she is fired after Dinehart told her to dance a number Lucy James called undanceable. But when Ted is told the whole story, he knows what to do.Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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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