Jun 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings / Jun /

Born to Dance (1936 M-G-M Musical)  
Music and lyrics by Cole Porter
  Available On: RHINO RHM2 7778  
Running Time: 68:26

born to dance

This 1936 M-G-M musical was mainly a vehicle for the formidable dancing talents of Eleanor Powell. It was a good money-maker and its success led to another Powell/ Porter teaming a year later for Rosalie and again for Broadway Melody of 1940 in which Powell teamed for the only time with Fred Astaire for what is probably the most celebrated tap dance routine in the whole of Hollywood Musical history.

Cole Porter’s input for this musical is uneven. The two evergreen numbers ‘Easy to Love’ and ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ shine and are repeated and repeated; the rest are novelty or ‘narrative movers’ for this rather threadbare story of a would-be show business hopeful (Eleanor Powell) who meets a young sailor on leave (James Stewart) who is being pursued by big Broadway star (Virginia Bruce who sings expressively ‘I’ve Got you Under My Skin’). James Stewart is given the film’s big number, ‘Easy to Love’, to sing with limited success (in the M-G-M musicals compilation That’s Entertainment, he confessed that the producers thought that the song was such a big hit that he couldn’t really do it much harm). He is joined by Marjorie Lane singing for Eleanor Powell. This number is heard in stereo as is another comedy/novelty number ‘Swingin’ the Jinx Away’ sung by Frances Langford, Buddy Ebsen and the M-G-M Chorus. The popular Ms Langford also sings a reprise of ‘Easy to Love’.

More for compulsive M-G-M musicals aficionados this one since you cannot see the delectable Miss Powell dancing.

Ian Lace

*** 3

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