Born to Dance (1936) B+
In MGM’s Oscar-nominated “Born to Dance,” three sailors on leave, Ted (James Stewart), Mush (Buddy Ebsen) and Gunny (Sid Silvers, who also co-wrote the script) romancing Nora Paige (Eleanor Powell), Peppy (Frances Langford), and Jenny (Una Merkel).
Nora aspires to become a dancing star, but her career nearly ends when she inadvertently comes between Broadway star Lucy James (Virginia Bruce) and her producer-lover McKay (Alan Dinehart).
The Cole Porter score, his first written directly for the screen, includes “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” sung by Virginia Bruce to James Stewart, and “Easy to Love”, sung by Stewart to Eleanor Powell.
Other highlights include Reginald Gardiner’s impersonation of a symphony-conducting traffic cop (a stage routine) and Eleanor Powell’s tap dancing number on board an art-deco battleship, for which the film received an Oscar nomination for Best Dance Direction.
This sequence was later used for the climax of 1944′s “I Dood It,” one of Vincente Minnelli’s first and worst pictures.
Oscar Nominations: 2
Song: I’ve Got You Under My Skin, music and lyrics by Cole Porter.
Dance Direction: Dave Gould
Oscar Awards: None
Porter never won an Oscar. The Best Song went to Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields for “The Way You Look at Me Tonight,” from the Astaire-Rogers musical, “Swing Time.”
The winner of the Best Dance Direction was Seymour Felix’s “A Pretty Girl is Like Melody,” from the biopic, “The Great Ziegfeld.”
Running time: 108 Minutes.
Directed by Roy Del Ruth.
Released: November 27, 1936.
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