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Broadway Melody of 1940 1940 NR CC

The class of the Broadway Melody series with the burnished talents of Astaire and Murphy, and the timeless tunes of Cole Porter.

Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell
1 hour, 41 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Musical
Director Norman Taurog
Starring Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell
Supporting actors George Murphy, Frank Morgan, Ian Hunter, Florence Rice, Lynne Carver, Ann Morriss, Trixie Firschke, Carol Adams, Barbara Jo Allen, Charlotte Arren, Irving Bacon, Bobby Barber, Herman Bing, Gladys Blake, Mel Blanc, Johnny Broderick, Don Brodie, Paul E. Burns
Studio Warner Bros.
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. L. Pulliam on July 21, 2003
Format: DVD
This film is tons of fun!

It's not a masterpiece along the lines of "The Wizard of Oz" or "Meet Me in St. Louis." Some may think it inferior to such MGM glitz as "The Ziegfeld Girl" (which is dazzling and a milestone in the careers of Lana Turner and Judy Garland).

But it is what it is and entertaining and joyful make up a lot of that.

It's the first and only time that MGM paired tap queen Eleanor Powell with Fred Astaire (fresh at MGM from some dazzling films at RKO with Ginger Rogers). Nevertheless, the unique pairing produced one of the great musical moments in film history (more below).

It's also unique in that it's one of the few times Alfred Newman, longtime 20th Century-Fox music department head and master composer/conductor (he's possibly one of the greatest conductors EVER) supervised a musical film at another studio prior to taking over at Fox in 1940. Newman previously supervised the music, along with Roger Edens, for MGM musicals "Born to Dance", and "Broadway Melody of 1936", plus various films for both Fox and Samuel Goldwyn.

The plot, today, seems typically trite for that period. Astaire, a great hoofer in a lousy gig, has a crush on Powell, a big Broadway star. He sneaks in to her shows to see her do a production number when he's not performing with his partner, George Murphy. One night, as he and Murphy are dancing, a bumbling fool of a Broadway angel -- adeptly portrayed by Frank Morgan -- sees the two tappers and gets real excited about the prospect of forwarding Astaire to auditions to co-star with Powell in a new show. Astaire, trying to help his buddy out, and having mistaken Morgan for a bill collector, gives Morgan his buddy's name when they meet.
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Format: DVD
If you love the movie "Chicago", you will love "The Broadway Melody of 1940". It's got the best tap dance sequences in movie history and a Cole Porter music score. The best dances in my opinion are "Begin the Beguine" and "The Jukebox Dance". This infamous movie musical stars Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell; two of the best dancers of the 20th century or any century. The story is cute, and typical: boy meets girl, they put on a show and fall in love.
The chemistry between Powell and Astaire is notably tense, but as the movie goes along it gets better. For history buffs: Ms. Powell and Mr. Astaire were perfectionists; outstanding in their craft. Eleanor Powell was the only female dancer at MGM to choreograph all her routines, and Fred Astaire at times did his own or with Hermes Pan. They were in awe of each other; but during rehersals for this movie, they stopped all the formal talk
and got down to hoofing like two hoofers should.
Enjoy this will NEVER see dancing like this again!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Over the years this movie has usually been panned. Today, with availability on VHS, then on laser disc, and now on DVD this film is getting the acclaim it deserves. This is one of my favorite Astaire films, the first time I watched it I knew I would be watching it again and again. The true test of a classic film
The movie was panned, not for the dancing, but for the story. The story involves mistaken identity: Eleanor Powell is a musical star looking for a dancing partner. Fred Astaire and George Murphy are dancing partners trying to make it to Broadway when Eleanor Poewll's agent - manager - Frank Morgan sees their act. He wants Fred Astaire for Eleanor's new partner but through a mixup George gets the part. Of course, everything works out by the end of the film and we have a happy ending. I didn't think the story was so bad or sentimental or whatever but let's face it, who cares? Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell in top form with Cole Porter music, who could ask for anything more?
The final big number is Begin The Beguine and it will knock your socks off. It is quite long, about twenty minutes as I remember. The last part was seen in That's Entertainment and when Frank Sinatra introduced it he said: "You'll never see its like again."
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Format: DVD
Because it can capture brilliance like this and hold it there forever. If I had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island with a DVD player and only one Fred Astaire musical number, I would want it to be "Begin the Beguine". To me, this is the most outstanding Hollywood production number ever made! Now, you can see it in all its glory in crystal clarity on this excellent DVD.
From the minute you hear the familiar tune being sung by an exotic siren, you are lulled to a breathtaking black & white world of mirrored-floors, starlit ceilings, giant foil palm trees, very deco Egyptian-esque female dancers and Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire. The number is "told" in two parts: the first being a more Spanish style of dance, with a Latin tempo, and the two dancers dressed in beautiful costumes, especially Eleanor's flowing pleated gown. The second half of "Begin the Beguine" is a total 1940 Big Band swing number introduced by an Andrews Sisters-like quartet. Fred and Eleanor come tapping out in modern day clothes and perform a swing tap number that is truly astounding. Pure fluid movement. What is so appealing is they look like they are loving every minute of it! Their precision and synchronization will leave you breathless.
But wait, there's more! The film also has these musical numbers, too: "Don't Monkey with Broadway", "All Ashore", "Between You and Me", "I've Got My Eyes on You", "Jukebox Dance" and "I Concentrate on You". The story may not be that good, but who cares? There are some special features, notably a short documentary narrated by Ann Miller about the making of the film.
RUN, don't walk to your nearest DVD store and get "Broadway Melody of 1940"!
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