Stormy Weather (1943)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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
Classics , Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
20th Century Fox

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Lena Horne
as Selina Rogers
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
as Bill Williamson
Fats Waller
as Himself
Cab Calloway
as Himself
Ned Stanfield
as The Shadrack
Johnny Horace
as The Shadrack
The Tramp Band
as Themselves
Ernest Whitman
as Jim Europe
Babe Wallace
as Chick Bailey
Johnny Lee
as Lyles
Mae Johnson
as Herself
Robert Felder
as Cab Calloway
Coleman Hawkins
as Saxophonist
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Critic Reviews for Stormy Weather

All Critics (4)

Lovers of vintage musicals simply cannot afford to miss Stormy Weather, which is historically significant for featuring an all-black cast and otherwise significant for providing a great time.

Full Review… | April 4, 2015
Creative Loafing

The thin plot doesn't matter, as it's only an excuse to showcase the black entertainers as they superbly do their showbiz things in a string of reviews.

Full Review… | October 4, 2014
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Thin story, terrific musical numbers.

August 29, 2006
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Quote not available.

January 20, 2007

Audience Reviews for Stormy Weather

In the early 1940s "Uncle" Bill Williamson (Robinson) is sitting with some neighborhood kids in Hollywood when a theatre magazine arrives celebrating 25 years of African American music. Bill was present for all of it, so we flashback to him as a soldier returning from WWI and get a glimpse of the changing landscape of music for black performers over the previous quarter-century. Bill, his buddy Gabe (Dooley Wilson), and Selina, the girl he wants to make a life with (Lena Horne), carry the show exceptionally. Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and The Nicholas Brothers give signature performances as well. Some songs and dances like the Cakewalk and the African jungle number show the inherent racism in show-business of that era even though no white characters appear to put up obstacles to these black characters achieving success. This movie treats us to two especially unique experiences. First, The Shadracks was a vaudeville comic duo who do a routine around a broke down jalopy. They demonstrate that even African American performers wore blackface as a mask that was acceptable to white audiences. Second, Katherine Dunham and Her Troupe do a balletic routine as a bridge in Lena Horne's performance of the title song Stormy Weather. This reminded me of Gene Kelly's balletic breaks in films from ten years later, and made me wonder if this could be the origin. I have not seen Cabin in the Sky yet from this same year. Were there other films from this time period that had fantasy dance numbers like this, or is this in fact the inspiration for those later movies that were beloved by the Academy? Great entertainment with rare opportunities to see black stars of this era own the screen.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

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 Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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