Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)

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MGM's third follow-up to its landmark Broadway Melody is short on story, but that's okay, since the plot is merely a clothesline upon which to hang sleek and opulent musical production numbers by Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell -- particularly a breathless and eye-popping gloriously black-and-white six-minute tap dance finale between Astaire and Powell to Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." The tale itself is a typical backstage contrivance: Johnny Brett (Fred Astaire) and King Shaw (George Murphy) are a couple of hoofers working in a dance hall for peanuts. Due to mistaken identity, King gets tapped for the lead in a Broadway show opposite big star Clare Bennett (Eleanor Powell) rather than Johnny. But when King drowns his trouble in booze on opening night, Johnny covers for him, taking his place in the show.
Rating: G
Genre: Classics , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By: Norman Taurog
Written By: Leon Gordon , George Oppenheimer , Sid Silvers , Preston Sturges , Walter de Leon , Vincent Lawrence , Albert Mannheimer , Eddie Moran
In Theaters: wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
MGM Home Entertainment

Cast

Fred Astaire
as Johnny Brett
Eleanor Powell
as Clara Bennett
George Murphy
as King Shaw
Frank Morgan
as Bob Casey
Ian Hunter
as Bert C. Matthews
Florence Rice
as Amy Blake
Lynne Carver
as Emmy Lou Lee
Ann Morriss
as Pearl
Douglas McPhail
as Masked Singer
Irving Bacon
as Soda Jerk
Herman Bing
as Silhouettist
Gladys Blake
as Miss Martin
George Chandler
as Mr. Jones
Chick Collins
as Sailor
Joseph Crehan
as Ballroom Manager
Hal K. Dawson
as O'Grady
Mary Field
as Bride
James Flavin
as Ballroom Worker
Jack Mulhall
as George
Joe Yule
as Dan
William Tannen
as Emmy Lou's Friend
Barbara Jo Allen
as Receptionist [uncredited]
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News & Interviews for Broadway Melody of 1940

Critic Reviews for Broadway Melody of 1940

All Critics (3) | Top Critics (3)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 10, 2009
Variety
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 24, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

... another ridiculous story that justifies itself in the historic one-time-only pairing of MGM's Queen of Tap Powell and the cinematic grace incarnate Fred Astaire.

Full Review… | April 6, 2008
Seanax.com

No excerpt available.

October 5, 2006
www.susangranger.com

No excerpt available.

June 13, 2005
EmanuelLevy.Com

Audience Reviews for Broadway Melody of 1940

Tired mistaken-identity plot tied to some great Cole Porter songs, including the wonderful tap-dance competition between Astaire & Powell to "Begin the Beguine." Officially the last of MGM's "Broadway Melody" series, although BROADWAY RHYTHM (1944) was supposed to hold that title.

Michael Troudt
Michael Troudt

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.

jay nixon
jay nixon

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.

William Zino
William Zino

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