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I first discovered Ms. Powell on some TV show retrospective or something (like, That's Entertainment, or something). The short clip that they showed of her dancing in a top hat and tails, just blew me away!!! I have been trying to identify the film that the dance excerpt had been taken from but have been unable to find it, despite the fact that Ms. Powell had a very short filmography. I started searching for this clip in her films and as a result became an even more ardent admirer. She may not have been as well known as some other actresses/dancers like Ginger Rogers or Ann Miller, but she was just as brilliant, if not better!! Becoming a fan, I looked into her history/background. I became even more of an admirer as I learned about this fascinating lady and her true character. She was always a professional and always a lady. I wish that I had met her. (P.S....if anyone knows which film included Ms. Powell in a top hat and tails, please let me know..please!)
Amazing amazing star!
I just now discovered the force of Eleanor Powell thanks to a TCM all day tribute. I have to say that this women was almost unbelievable in what she could do! She was a master in terms of using objects as partners just like Astaire and Kelly did. She made it look so very easy with every step. Her athletism was a marvel while still maintaining an elegance and beauty inside and out. A particular dance with her dog in one movie was just delightful! To think of the patience and dedication that she had to create that one dance is incredible! Thank you for showing her movies and letting me "discover" this star, just sorry it took me so long!
Vindication is a Wonderful Thing
- John Schriver, M.D.
For years my family and friends thought I was a bit daft because watching Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire dance to Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine" had become part of my life, viewed whenever I had a few minutes (8 minutes, I think) or needed a "pick me up". I have never tired of it, although they have. Some years ago several of us were in a bookstore and I came across film critic David Thomson's extensive compendium of film reviews and turned to his review of "Broadway Melody of 1940." I was dumbfounded. In it Thomson indicates that if he were in a cell for life and could watch only a segment from one film...this was it! His review is a lovely read and spot on, I recommend it to you.
According to Ann Miller Ellie saved MGM from bankrupcy twice. Broadway Melody of 1936 & 38. The most expensive dance scene ever done was from Rosalie. it was done on 60 acres and at night. Ellie had to cascade from one drum to another. There was dew on them and se said she had to be Sonja Henie. There were 2000 extras for this scene. The first million dollar musical was Broadway Melody of 1940. The Begin the Beguine scene was the second most expensive. Ellie got desevingly more dance time then Fred. Both choregraphed their own numbers and they figured out how to get what they thought was best for each. Fred was terrified to dance with Ellie according to Fayard Nicholas. Ellie learned to do many of her patented moves doing ballet. Grand pirorettes, backward bends , machine gun tapping, and uneven rhythm tapping were done by Ellie and ONLY Ellie. She danced in a class by herself is what Fred said in his autobiography about Ellie. She was so good male dancers shied away from her. She usually had 50 to as many as 350 dancers in the background(usually men) and of course 2000 in Rosalie. Ellie is the most unsung super star of the golden age. Louis Meyer and she were the best of friends and Ellie was the most popular star within the studio. They called her "baby". She ate with the blue collar workers much to the dismay of Mr.Meyer. Fellow stars wanted to date/marry her because she was the real deal. not a phony bone in her body. They called her the Iron Lady because she danced 12 hours a day. Ellie most famous quote was "Who we are is God's gifts to us. Who we become is our gift back to God. She won 5 Emmys for a children's program she did on television. Indeed; she was a class act. More and more are recognizing this amazing talent and woman. It's not uncommon for a new viewer to say "wow" when watching her. Hopefully the momentum will continue . I recommend watching Ellie at the Variety Arts Theatre on You Tube. It's in 9 parts and most interesting. -----------------
One Very Special Lady
- Robert M. Lee, Jr.
It has been a very long time since Eleanor Powell performed in motion pictures but she blessed us with each and every film in which she danced. She was a shining star if there ever was one. I rediscovered her about two years ago and this has been a most pleasant viewing journey. In my opinion, she was more than unique and deserves to be remembered more than she has been these past few years. But don't take my word for it. Run to your video store and rent or purchase any of her films and be dazzled by the most charming, effervescent performer to grace our American movie screens. I think you will agree with me that she was truly one of a kind. In my book, she is one very special lady.
in my own opinion, and most of the gang at Metro, think Mrs. Powell was the best dancer to ever grace the silver screen.
Best Female Tap Dancer Ever
- Audrey Ezzo
Which leads me to the subject of why don't you publish all of her movies into one package? I am now looking at purchasing Classical Musicals ---Dream Factory #3. Yes, you have Kismet, Deep in My heart, Two Weeks with Love, Nancy Goes to Rio......and then you include Lady Be Good, Broadway Melody of 1938, Born to dance and Hit the Deck.Where is Ship Ahoy of 1942? I have no knowledge of Honolulu and Rosalie or I Dood It. WHERE? I think the other musicals are O.K., but I'd buy more of her movies if included in one package. Most probably she is not a good seller because of the earlier years in the 35's through the early "40's. Ann Miller was good but could never surpass Eleanor Powell.It is obvious I love talented tap dancers and tap dancers seem to have gone out of style. Sure is much more entertaining the professional than that stuff today, especially Hip Hop Dancing. I am 83 and glad that I was able to experience Astaire and Powell in my lifetime. Thank you. Audrey Ezzo
Please Release Eleanor!!!
- Robert M. Lee,Jr
In an effort to let the powers that be regarding the release of Eleanor Powell's films, let me be the first to formally enter my plea. This grand woman, magnificent dancer, and all around great human being represents the very best in dancing on our American silver screen. Her film output is very minor in number but every one of these films is a gem and deserves to be put on dvd in order that diehard fans like me can add them to our collections. There is nothing so thrilling than watching Miss Powell go thorugh her paces. She dazzles you with sheer dancing splendor and creates a mood no other dancer has ever perfected for the screen. Eleanor Powell, if you are watching down on us from your celestial bannister, please know that we still love you and thank you for your contribution to our American movies.
You should do an all day on Ellie!
She was the best dancer of all time!
The Queen of Tap Dancing
Looking forward to a tribute to this fine actress.
Eleanor Powell the definition of talent
If you look up entertainment and talent in the dictionary, there ought to be a picture of Eleanor. In a time when many performers strive to be relevant or edgy, I found her dance routines to be just amazing and...entertaining! When will TCM have a night of her movies, especially the color Thousands Cheer? No matter that the stories are old fashioned; her talent rises above the scripts.
- Tom Pichler
Without a doubt the finest dancer I have had the pleasure to watch! I'm sorry I took so long to find her. Thank you TCM for bringing her to me. Her performance in I Dood it is unbelievable! I wish it was available on DVD!! Thanks for all your movies. I feel I'm one of your top fans.
Best Dancer Ever
Eleanor's career was short lived (due to her own choices) but she was unequaled. To refer to her as the female Fred Astaire might be an understatement because I think she was better!!I wish I could have known her.
- Judy Wager
Eleanor Powell was the greatest female tap dancer ever....I could watch her all day. She was also a very gracious woman who was so sweet and caring with her fans right up till the end. I will always remember her with love.
I have seen a small clip of Broadway Melody (1940) and would love to see the entire film. I am a young senior who started taking tap classes almost two years ago and love to watch old movies, especially dancing. The clip of Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell was fabulous. Also, was confused about times being ET and missed Topper with Gary Grant and hope you show it again. Thanks.
I could just watch Elle dance all day!
The Great Eleanor Powell
There is no doubt that Eleanor Powell was one of the silver screens greatest dancers of all time. She possessed a beautiful smile that could light up a room and an angelic face that will never be forgotten. It is a shame that she retired so young and that we lost her so soon. What a talented lady!!!
One of a Kind
- Jim Anderson
Eleanor Power in a word was "magnificent". There is no one in her time or since that moved and danced like her. She was mesmerizing with her grace and incredible talent as well as her beautiful character. What a wonderful presence she was.
Dancer of the Century
Who was a better dancer than Eleanor Powell? Her cute, average-girl looks probably kept her from the very top but the great ones, Ginger, Rita, et.al. all pay homage to Eleanor on the dance floor.
Once you see Eleanor Powell dance no other dancer will do.Most of her dance numbers were done without a break in filming.Give this lady a chance and you won't be sorry.
No One Will Ever Be As Great A Dancer!!!
- Joan Slotnick
I absolutely adored this woman. She was by far the greatest tap dancer ever. There has and will never be another one like her. I wish that they would release more of her movies on DVD. I grabbed Broadway Melody of 1940 the minute it was released. I would do the same of any of the other Broadway 1936 and 1938 if they came out. Miss her smooth dancing a lot. They don't make them like her anymore.