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Broadway Melody of 1940 (9-Feb-1940)

Director: Norman Taurog

Writers: Leon Gordon; George Oppenheimer; Jack McGowan; Dore Schary

Lyrics and Music: Cole Porter

Producer: Jack Cummings

Keywords: Musical, New York, Broadway, Tap Dancing

NameOccupationBirthDeathKnown for
Fred Astaire
10-May-1899 22-Jun-1987 Broadway ballroom dancer
Lynne Carver
13-Sep-1909 12-Aug-1955 American character actress
Ian Hunter
13-Jun-1900 23-Sep-1975 The Adventures of Robin Hood
Frank Morgan
1-Jun-1890 18-Sep-1949 The Wizard of Oz
George Murphy
4-Jul-1902 3-May-1992 Actor and US Senator from California
Eleanor Powell
21-Nov-1912 11-Feb-1982 Lady Be Good
Florence Rice
14-Feb-1911 23-Feb-1974 At the Circus


Fred Astaire   ...   Johnny Brett
Eleanor Powell   ...   Clare Bennett
George Murphy   ...   King Shaw
Frank Morgan   ...   Bob Casey
Ian Hunter   ...   Bert C. Matthews
Florence Rice   ...   Amy Blake
Lynne Carver   ...   Emmy Lou Lee
Ann Morriss   ...   Pearl
Trixie Firschke   ...   Juggler


Review by J Schriver, M.D. (posted on 16-Nov-2007)

As a film, Broadway Melody of 1940 is forgetable...but as a vehicle for the dancing combination of Eleanor Powell and Fred Astair, matchless. It helps to know that Powell was without a doubt, the finest female film dancer of her time, perhaps of all-time...and that she matched the skills of the great Astair, so apparent in this film. Striking to this reviewer is the juxtaposition of her acting skills, less than average, with the messages of joy, romance, competition (with Astair) and gusto that her facial expression and dance project so naturally, particularly in the two part dance sequence to Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." They are from her very soul and can be watched over and over. It also helps that she was a beautiful woman, attractively costumed, and throughout the film the audience is treated to glimpses of her lovely legs as she dances, exciting even today. Astair provides his usual superb performance as he partners in dance with both Miss Powell and a future Senator from California. Their threesome dance at the end of the film, although short, is a delight and features an eight rotation Powell spin ending in a perfectly coordinated resumption of all three. If you do nothing else, watch at least the last portion of Broadway Melody of 1940, beginning with "Begin the Beguine."

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