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Broadway Melody of 1936

Broadway Melody of 1936(1935)


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An early working title of the film was Broadway Melody of 1935. According to Hollywood Reporter news items in December 1934 and January 1935, the film was originally intended to star Clifton Webb, who would have returned to the screen after a ten-year absence. It was also announced that most songs, including original music for Webb, were to be written by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed. Another song, "Summer Breezes," written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II was also to be in the film. "Summer Breezes" was not in the final film; all songs were written by Brown and Freed and, according to an ad for the film, published by Jack Robbins, head of Robbins Music Corp., M-G-M's music publishing division. Max Gordon, called "Broadway's most successful producer" in a Hollywood Reporter news item, was said to be advising M-G-M on this and other films, but his exact connection to the film has not been determined.
       A news item in Hollywood Reporter on October 23, 1934 noted that Sid Silvers as working on a screenplay for the film with Howard Emmett Rogers and that Ned Marin would supervise the production. The extent of Rogers' or Marin's participation in the completed film has not been ascertained. A December 18, 1934 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Rian James was finishing the script for Miss Pamela Thorndyke, which was to be combined with John W. Considine's production of Broadway Melody of 1935, but, the relationship between this script and the completed film has not been determined, and James is not credited elsewhere in connection with the film. Other pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter note that Allan Jones, Virginia Bruce and Lynne Overman were at one time set to co-star with Eleanor Powell in the picture. Actors mentioned in news items during production but whose participation in the completed film cannot be confirmed include Jeni de Gon, Wanda Perry, Bonnie Bannon, Marion Lange, Diane Cook, Mary Lou Dix, Connie Meyers, Lorna Lowe, Jack Cavanaugh, Allan Wood, Gertrude Astor, Lona Andre, Kay Hughes, May Beatty and Jimmy Grier and His Orchestra. Other news items in Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety note that a rough cut of 14,000 feet of the picture was shown in Santa Barbara in early August 1935; that W. S. Van Dyke was directing new segments for the film, some of which enhanced Sid Silver's part, in early August because Roy Del Ruth was then working on the Twentieth Century-Fox picture Thanks a Million, that M-G-M had a coast-to-coast radio hook-up for the film's official preview on the afternoon of August 25, 1935 at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, hosted by Jack Benny and Sid Silvers; and that Harry Conn, who wrote additional dialogue for the picture, was one of radio comedian Jack Benny's regular writers and provided material for Benny in the film.
       This film marked the screen debuts of Buddy Ebsen and his sister Vilma. Although most contemporary and modern sources indicate that it was also Eleanor Powell's debut, she had appeared in George White's 1935 Scandals, a Fox film released earlier in late March 1935 (see below). Several reviewers referred to Powell as "the female Fred Astaire." This was the second of M-G-M's Broadway Melody films. The first was Harry Beaumont's The Broadway Melody in 1929, the first musical to win an Academy Award for Best Picture (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0630). The third was Broadway Melody of 1938, also directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring Powell, Robert Taylor, Buddy Ebsen, Judy Garland, and George Murphy, and the fourth and final film was Broadway Melody of 1940, directed by Norman Taurog, with Powell, Fred Astaire, and George Murphy. Two of the film's songs, "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'," and "You Are My Lucky Star," were listed in several "hit" song lists for the year. The picture was nominated for two Academy Awards, one for Best Film, and one for Moss Hart's original story. Dave Gould won an Oscar for dance direction for the "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'" number from this film and the "Straw Hat" number from Fox's Folies Bergre de Paris (see below). The picture was on a number of "top ten" lists, including that of FDY and New York Times, and was one of the top ten money-making pictures of the year.