Broadway Melody of 1940 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Broadway Melody of 1940 Reviews

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March 15, 2016
Wonderful showcase for Fred Astaire's astonishing tap-dancing. Here he's partnered with the equally fleet Eleanor Powell and George Murphy in a typical backstage melodrama. Very attractively performed by the entire cast, and sprinkled with bonkers comedy spots. Great stuff.
March 20, 2015
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.
July 23, 2014
Always enjoy watching Fred dance... even if the story is kind of boring.
Super Reviewer
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.
December 16, 2013
#4 gets 3 stars in this lavish MGM musical as only MGM could and did.
½ September 2, 2013
Despite the dazzling dances from Fred Astaire, I couldn't care what's going on due to the dry plot.
½ February 10, 2013
there again,,, Fred Astaire brought u such an entertainment on his dancing shoes :)
½ 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.
October 16, 2010
Elanore Powell is one of the most brilliantly talented dancers. Now wonder they called her the queen of tap.
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.
March 24, 2010
A rip roarin musical with great chemistry from Astaire and Powel. Yowza! Yowza!
December 4, 2009
This MGM musical should have been as delightful as the RKO musicals of Fred Astaire, given the coherent plot, Porter score, superb dancing of Eleanor Powell, and the good performance by Frank Morgan. So why wasn't it? Perhaps it was the lackluster score, or George Murphy's lack of charisma. The finale made it worthwhile, however.
September 19, 2009
"Tappity Tap Tap Tap Tap!" straight into your heart strings (if you have any). This one is a great entertainer.
July 19, 2009
Stylish black and white musical, made special by the fact that Eleanor Powell is at least as good a dancer as Fred Astaire. The final number is sensational - one of the best finales of any movie.
½ July 11, 2009
I love the tap! So much fun to watch, highly recommend.
Super Reviewer
½ July 1, 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. :)
February 21, 2009
A match made in heaven--too bad Astaire and Powell only did the one flick together!
½ February 12, 2009
i loved Astaire in this and Powell as well two great performers giving all they have
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