Sunday, July 14, 2013

You look sort of shipshape to me and I've spotted a few...

So, to continue with our delightful marathon about singing sailors, let's move on to a musical where the main sailor is not your typical musical star...

Born To Dance (1936)

This movie was in my public library growing up for as long as I can remember. And I don't know how long it took me to finally check it out. I kept wanting to. But I didn't know who Eleanor Powell was at the time and didn't know if I'd like her. As it happens, I didn't. I've grown to feel differently, of course. She's not my favorite but I know what an amazing performer she was and I love several of her scenes. This isn't my favorite of her movies, per se, but it's worth a watch just to see James Stewart singing!

The plot is kind of odd and convoluted (the main reason this isn't my absolute favorite) but I'll do my best to explain it. Ted Barker (Stewart) meets aspiring dancer, Nora Paige (Powell) and they fall in love. However, when a famous starlet Lucy James (Virginia Bruce) visits his ship and Ted rescues her pet Pekinese, he finds himself in the middle of a publicity campaign where he and Lucy are shown to be an item. Naturally, Nora becomes jealous and hurt. After much confusion, Nora and Ted are reunited and Nora becomes the star she deserves to be. There are some great supporting characters played by Una Merkel, Sid Silvers, Frances Langford, and Buddy Ebsen.

I don't know a whole heap about this one unfortunately. I know that when the movie was being made, the studios were doing their best to produce as many musicals as possible because of their popularity. To do so, they put some of their top stars in their musicals, even if the stars were not musically inclined. Thus, Jimmy Stewart as our leading man. Incidentally, I like Jimmy Stewart's voice. He's not exactly Bing Crosby, but his voice is sweet and sincere and when he sings "You'd Be So Easy to Love," he sounds perfectly vulnerable and gentle. I've read that they planned to dub his voice over but decided against it. I've also read that Cole Porter picked James Stewart for the role. In any case the song was a big hit.

Have you guys seen this one? What do you think of Jimmy's singing pipes? Are you Eleanor Powell fans? Which is your favorite Powell film? I'll be posting some pictures and clips of the film on my Facebook page in the following days so be sure to check them out!

All of the pictures in this post are from Doctor Macro.

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