Stormy Weather

1943

Stormy Weather

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Movie Info

Built around the premise of a Big Stage Show, Stormy Weather affords rare "mainstream" leading roles to some of the era's greatest African-American entertainers Lena Horne, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Dooley Wilson, Cab Calloway, Katherine Dunham, Fats Waller, and the Nicholas Brothers. The thinnish plotline -- dancer Robinson has an on-again-off-again romance with Horne -- is simply an excuse for lively, well-staged performances. Of the fourteen musical numbers, the most memorable is Lena Horne's rendition of the title song, artfully staged by director Andrew L. Stone. Keep an eye out for uncredited contributions by jazz greats Zutty Hamilton, Coleman Hawkins and Taps Miller. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Stormy Weather

All Critics (4) | Fresh (4)

Audience Reviews for Stormy Weather

  • Feb 01, 2017
    This film is full of joy and a real celebration of African-American entertainment in 1943. The premise is that Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson is looking back on a life in entertainment, and as he reminisces, we see one brilliant performance after another from a galaxy of stars. There's Robinson himself, of course, who at age 65 dances infectiously throughout the movie, but my favorites were his 'sand dance' on a riverboat, and his tap dancing on giant bongos. I loved seeing Fats Waller performing 'That Ain't Right' with Ada Brown, and then 'Ain't Misbehaving', his eyebrows all a-twitter. There's Lena Horne singing the title song, 'Stormy Weather' with a great segue to an imagined scene out the window which featured the stylish and sultry dancing of Katherine Dunham and her troupe (which reminded me of the Gene Kelly/Cyd Charisse number 12 years later in 'Singin' in the Rain'). The high-octane Cab Calloway and his orchestra play 'Jumpin' Jive', which included an amazing dance sequence by the Nicholas Brothers, who leap high and land in so many splits you wonder how their bodies can possibly take it. And those are just the highlights - this film is jam packed in its 78 minutes, with numbers that demonstrate stunning creativity and musicality. There are a few stereotypes which sneak in, including comedians in blackface, but those elements are small, and the spirit of the movie soars. It may have less plot development, less nuance in its characters, and less polish than white musicals at the time, and could be rightly criticized as reducing its African-American stars to 'just entertainers'. On the other hand, this was the state of America at the time, the movie represents a step forward, and I was very happy for what I did see, instead of disheartened for what I did not. Perhaps thought of another way, the entertainers' performances are so brilliant they transcend the narrow framework they're placed in, exploding off the screen. How sad it is that Fats Waller would die just a few months after its release, and that this would be Robinson's last film, but how wonderful that all of these performances were captured in this beautiful little movie.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 12, 2012
    while it's certainly a white fantasy of black life in 1943 (where racism didn't exist) it stars many of the greatest entertainers of the 30s and 40s. bill robinson was already 65 when this was made; lena horne was an up and coming 26. of course their relationship was completely desexualized and the plot was just an excuse for musical numbers anyway. but it's hard to beat fats waller, cab calloway in a zoot suit and the fabulous nicholas brothers.
    Stella D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This movie has a good story, but I didn't like how it ended. Most of the movie is singing, anyway. Overall, it's okay.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2010
    I've seen a lot of dance movies, but I have got to say that the end routine in this film just blows them all out of the water. It's phenomenal! The story here is pretty thin, but since when does anyone watch a musical for story? As blasphemous as this may be, it's a pity they didn't film in Technicolor. It would have popped fantastically. Still, entertainment in one of it's purest forms.
    Jennifer D Super Reviewer

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