Broadway Melody of 1940 Reviews
December 22, 2013
The through story is pure piffle but it doesn't matter whenever Fred or Eleanor dance which is a great deal of the time. Lush and entertaining.
January 28, 2009
This just in: A crack team of research scientists have determined that it is physiologically impossible to have the blues and watch a Fred Astaire dance routine at the same time. :)
January 30, 2007
Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell .. they're simply AMAZING to watch together! The movie itself isn't that great. This pairing gets the 5 star rating.
October 9, 2006
Great fun in this film, if you appreciate oldies/musicals. In my opinion the music was the best part.
December 9, 2012
The music is AMAZING and the story was enjoyable. I would recommend you watch this just to see Eleanor Powell - she is awesome.
December 21, 2011
This movie is pretty bad, EXCEPT for the music and dance numbers. It is magic on the screen. Eleanor Powell is definitely up to the task of dancing with the wizard of Terpsichore. The number at the end of the film "Begin the Begiune" is indescribable. You have to see it and hear Artie Shaw play the music to believe it. Too bad this was the only film they ever appeared in together.
September 4, 2011
Along with "Swing Time," "Broadway Melody of 1940" might just be Fred Astaire 's greatest picture. The plot is nothing really to write home about, but it is simply impossible to watch Astaire and Powell dance together and not be happy. Sporting some of the best choreography ever seen in cinema (culminating in the renowned "Begin the Beguine") this is a necessity for any fan of musical theater, or Fred Astaire.
May 22, 2010
The King of Rhythm and the Queen of Taps were born to dance together from the tops of their heads to the taps of their feet. Broadway Melody of 1940 pairs the dashing Fred Astaire with the extraordinary Eleanor Powell, one of the few women believed capable of out-doing Astaire. I discovered this movie years ago when it was given to me as a gift. Apparently, somebody overheard that I enjoyed Astaire musicals. Of course, at that time, I had only seen the Astaire/Rogers musicals, so I was quite curious to see him with a new dancing partner. I hadn't seen Eleanor Powell in anything else. Broadway Melody of 1940 is the fourth movie in the Broadway Melody series, of which Powell starred in all but the first. It's not my favorite musical, but I do enjoy pulling it off my DVD shelf and watching it from time to time. I just recently finished watching it, so I feel well equipped to write a few words to help you decide if it might be worth your time.
Fred Astaire is Johnny Brett. He works alongside his partner King Shaw, played by George Murphy, doing small-time performing gigs. Both of them hope for a shot at something bigger, and not just in show business. Johnny has a crush on the famous Broadway star and Powell's character, Clare Bennett (If that name seems at all familiar, you've seen an episode or two of NBC's Heroes). Johnny sneaks away to catch Clare perform on the big stage. One night a talent scout (Frank Morgan) spots Johnny and King Shaw performing. He approaches Johnny and offers him a part in a new show, but Johnny is under the impression that he's a bill collector come for King Shaw. So to save King Shaw from being legally summoned in any way, Johnny tells the talent scout that he is King Shaw.
Unfortunately for Mr. Brett, that talent scout was not only the real thing, but he was Casey in the Broadway production team of Matthews and Casey wanting to put Johnny in the next show with Miss Clare Bennett. The case of mistaken identity continues as King Shaw lands the part in the show. Even when Johnny learns of the mistake, he continues to support his partner by helping him with his dance steps and making sure his frequent drinking binges don't get him fired from the production. In time, Shaw's undeserved success gets to his head and threatens to tear the friendship apart. As Johnny puts it, "when success goes to a dancer's head, he's alright, but when it goes to his head, he's top heavy." Meanwhile, Clare finds herself more interested in Johnny than King Shaw, wondering how Bob Casey could have failed to pick him. The rest, you'll just have to see to learn.
Note that this is first and foremost a musical. There's plenty of singing and dancing, and here, there's a LOT of dancing. Astaire and Powell light up the screen with each of their numbers together. Their two numbers together during "Begin the Beguine" are spectacular. It's as though dancing is a language which they both speak fluently. There's also a terrific solo number with Astaire for "I've Got My Eyes On You" where he essentially dances with a photograph of Clare. While it's not exactly solo, Powell also manages a terrific leading performance during "All Ashore." These numbers, it should be noted, feature the magical music of Mr. Cole Porter.
There are a few other things about the film that I think are worth mentioning. The first of which is rather negative. There's a couple scenes in the film where we're treated to talent of a different nature. The first is a girl who juggles fairly well. I didn't have too much of a problem with it because it's obvious that she's talented, and with Fred Astaire present in the scene, I didn't feel too taken out of the film. The second scene is a different girl who I suppose is trying to put on a comedy act. I guess the point is that Bob Casey can pick some rather oddball talent, and we're supposed to laugh as his partner Matthews deals with them, but this 'comedy' act annoys me every time. Perhaps you are a more tolerant movie goer, but I'm telling you now to prepare you in any case.
I also feel Frank Morgan's part is worth mentioning. I really enjoy the whole subplot with him and the fur cape. You see, he uses the fur cape to get women to go out with him by offering it to them to wear during the course of the date. When the date's over, however, he needs to get the cape back so that he can offer it to the next blond he deems worthy. I enjoy Frank Morgan in general, but it was fun to see him try to deal with those that caught onto his scheme of snatching the cape back at the end of the evening.
There isn't much story to go on here. It's not the most original plotline you'll ever see, and I'm sure you can predict how everything's going to go down without much information. If you want to spend your movie night with something that leaves you guessing, I'd certainly not look to this one. If, however, you're looking to be entertained through dance and song by a couple of the most talented people in that arena, you'll be quite satisfied with Broadway Melody of 1940.
June 11, 2004
Broadway Melody of 1940 -
Two gay lovers try to earn a living dancing. However, when the perfect job comes along, a difficult decision comes: can they take the part if it means abandoning eachother? The George Murphy character decides that yes, it is worth it. He takes the job and abandons poor Fred Astaire for that harlot, Eleanor Powell. In grief, we see Fred encounter a woman who balances a ball on a pole which she sticks in her mouth. The symbolism is obvious: Fred Astaire's character's world is crumbling around him, and he begins to question his sexuality. In this confusion, he consents to oral intercourse with her. However, this is fleeting, as his lover, Murphy, discovers that he can't handle a woman by himself, turning to alcoholism. Powell's character, hungry for love, runs to Astaire, desperate for his fullness. He consents. In the end, however, Astaire and Powell come to forgive Murphy, and allow him to join them in a fantabulous threesome that rivals in raw sexuality any of the work of a Bertolluci or a Lynch.
Also notable is the film's satirization of masturbation, which is seen as an ugly woman singing and dancing by herself, only worthy to laugh at. She is old, and she dances alone for no one is willing to dance with her. Pitiable and laughable.
Reed between the lines, people.
Sunset Boulevard -
Giilis was an absolute fool. An ABSOLUTE fool. #1 - despite the age difference, Norma Desmond is still a more interesting lover than that bland girl how wants to be a writer. #2 - the story of Salome is approximately one hundred times more interesting than that tripe they were writing about two teachers wo fall in love, or whatever it was. If he knew what was good for him, he would have actually taken the project seriously.
Oh well, no use crying over rotten eggs. This film is still a masterpiece. And I feel really bad for Norma Desmond.
Yellow Submarine -
The most clearly psychedelic film ever made, and one of the most intelligent. It's all in your head, indeed. Noteworthy for the fabulous "Eleanor Rigby" "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" and "All You Need Is Love" musical scenes, as well as a very lovely playfullness with senses of time and perspective.