Born to Dance (1936) - Rotten Tomatoes

Born to Dance (1936)





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A never-completed stage musical was the source for the MGM superproduction Born to Dance. The plot is another three-sailors-on-leave affair, with Ted (James Stewart), Mush (Buddy Ebsen) and Gunny (Sid Silvers, who also co-wrote the script) romancing the eminently romanceable Nora (Eleanor Powell), Peppy (Frances Langford) and Jenny (Una Merkel). Nora aspires to become a dancing star, but her career nearly ends before it begins when she inadvertently comes between Broadway luminary Lucy James (Virginia Bruce) and her producer-lover McKay (Alan Dinehart). If anyone watching back in 1936 really cared about the plot, they probably weren't music lovers. The lovely Cole Porter score (his first written directly for the screen) includes "I've Got You Under My Skin", sung by Virginia Bruce to James Stewart, and "Easy to Love", warbled by Stewart to Eleanor Powell. Highlights include Reginald Gardiner's impersonation of a symphony-conducting traffic cop (a routine he'd previously performed on stage) and Eleanor Powell's climactic tap routine on board an art-deco battleship (a sequence later re-deployed for the climax of 1944's I Dood It).

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Eleanor Powell
as Nora Paige
James Stewart
as Ted Barker
Virginia Bruce
as Lucy James
Una Merkel
as Jenny Saks
Sid Silvers
as Gunny Saks
Frances Langford
as Peppy Turner
Raymond Walburn
as Capt. Dingby
Alan Dinehart
as James "Mac" McKay
Buddy Ebsen
as Mush Tracy
Juanita Quigley
as Sally Saks
Barnett Parker
as Floorwalker
James Flavin
as Submarine Officer
as Herself
Dennis O'Keefe
as Man in Club Lobby
Jay Johnson
as The Foursome
Anita Brown
as Anita, the Maid
Jonathan Hale
as Hector, the Columnist
Fuzzy Knight
as Pianist
Wally Maher
as Reporter
Charles Trowbridge
as Store Demonstrator
Helen Troy
as Telephone Operator
John Tyrrell
as Reporter
Bobby Watson
as Costume Designer/Assistant Stage Manager
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Critic Reviews for Born to Dance

All Critics (2)

Pleasantly breezy musical romantic comedy.

Full Review… | April 28, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The original songs by Cole Porter aren't all memorable, but they are lively and two of them are among is classics: "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Easy to Love."

Full Review… | April 6, 2008

Audience Reviews for Born to Dance

Cole Porter wrote one of his best movie scores for this highly entertaining MGM musical; the songs include "Rap-Tap On Wood," "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Easy to Love" (introduced by James Stewart!); the spectacular finale features Eleanor Powell performing "Swingin' the Jinx Away" aboard a battleship.

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

So what's not to like? Eleanor Powell endlessly hoofin' and hip-wigglin' away as the understudy who's being cheated out of the full limelight she's due -- ah, what moves and gams, Eleanor at her very best. A youthful Jimmy Stewart as Eleanor's swoonin' croonin' love interest. Virginia Bruce as the spiteful, scheming star/lead, who's gorgeously and constantly draped in sumptuous satins and pearls and hairdos. A 20ish, foppish Buddy Epsen tap-dancin' away in a sailor's outfit -- and singin' without a Jed Clampett cone-pone accent. A huge, classic MGM dance-production finale (sans Busby Berkeley) with row-upon-row of leggy gals dancing in all manner of elaborate, glittery, over-the-top outfits and hot-pants, that closes on huge Naval cannons blasting away at the audience. A Cole Porter score introducing "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "(You'd Be So) Easy to Love" (with Jimmy Stewart at the pipes). A light sprinkle of campy chuckles from a storyline by mid-Century cut-up Sid Silvers, who also takes on the role of singing sailor "Gunny Sacks." And outstanding image quality, right down to every last sparkle of sequin. If you haven't yet seen one of these classic 1930ish dance productions, here's an excellent place to start. Unfortunately, this jewel is only available within the box set "Classic Musicals From The Dream Factory, Volume 3." Thanks, TCM, for the memories.

TonyPolito  Polito
TonyPolito Polito

eleanor powell proved herself the first lady of 1930s dancers with this shiny glossy vehicle from mgm. cole porter wrote the score and roger edens did great arrangements. james stewart makes a rare musical appearance and the cast is rounded out with una merkel, buddy ebsen, sid silvers and virginia bruce.

darryl clark
darryl clark

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