Cast & Crew
Roy Del Ruth
Successful Broadway producer and performer Jonnie Demming, the scion of a well-known burlesque family, is preparing his next musical and searching for the perfect leading lady. While scouting for talent at a nightclub, Jonnie, a notorious playboy, spies film actress Helen Hoyt and is immediately attracted to her, but insists to his assistant, Felix Gross, that he would never cast a movie star in his show. Although Helen, whose film career has been faltering, has come to New York to find a Broadway musical in which to star, she feigns only mild interest when Jonnie approaches her. The egotistical Jonnie tells Helen that she is "all wrong" for the show's lead, as he is looking for a "Latin type," and suggests that she audition for the chorus instead. The next day, Jonnie is delighted when an unknown Latin singer named La Polita shows up to audition and, unaware that she is actually Helen in a dark wig, invites her to lunch. Before she meets Jonnie, Helen's ruse is discovered by his teenaged sister Patsy, who against Jonnie's wishes, has run away from her Connecticut boarding school to pursue a career in show business. Over lunch, Helen then reveals her identity to Jonnie and informs him that she will not act in his show because the script is boring and pretentious. Although Helen's assessment is echoed by Jonnie's father Sam, a comedian who has been forced into retirement by Jonnie, Jonnie decides to postpone the show's opening until he can convince Helen to join. Helen resists Jonnie's attempts at seduction, however, and later agrees to co-produce with Sam an unproduced musical about the Demming family, which Jonnie wrote years before. Because neither of them has much money, Sam and Helen decide to mount the musical in Mellford, Connecticut. They rent an abandoned summer stock theater from a farmer and begin auditioning for the show. When Jonnie, who still hopes to cast Helen in his musical, finally learns about the production, he is furious. He warns his father that his play is too "corny" for contemporary audiences and that Sam's hoped-for comeback will be a pitiful failure. Sam and Helen are undaunted, however, and invite the recently graduated Patsy and her boyfriend and partner, Ray Kent, to join the show. Later, Jonnie shows up in Mellford and begs Helen to do his production, and both confess their love for each other. When Helen asks Jonnie to wish his father good luck, however, Jonnie refuses, infuriating Helen. After Jonnie returns to New York, Sam confides to Helen that he has always dreamed of doing the Demming story with his son. Determined to reunite the two men, Helen goes to New York and lies to Jonnie that the dancer who was to play Jonnie has broken his leg and that she and most of the cast have left Sam's show. His family pride finally stirred, Jonnie condemns Helen as a traitor and rushes to Mellford to "save" his father. Jonnie announces that he is putting on the show in New York and will play himself in it. To everyone's further delight, Jonnie then casts Patsy in Helen's role. Later, during rehearsals, Jonnie is happily surprised when Helen appears on stage, ready to be his co-star.
Roy Del Ruth
Eddie "rochester" Anderson
The Ross Sisters
Walter B. Long
Robert E. O'connor
Betty Jane Graham
Art Berry Sr.
E. E. Bagley
James K. Burbridge
Oscar Hammerstein Ii
Standish J. Lambert
Ricardo Lopez Mendez
M. J. Mclaughlin
Robert W. Shirley
Jack Martin Smith
Egbert Van Alstyne
John A. Williams
Edwin B. Willis
The latter movie is a barely recognizable screen treatment of the 1939 Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II Broadway hit Very Warm for May, in which most of the original numbers except "All the Things You Are" were cut. (Three others are sung in mere fragments by star George Murphy.) The Dorsey numbers are two written by Don Raye and Gene de Paul: "I Love Corny Music," with vocals by Tommy Dorsey and Charles Winninger; and "Irresistible You," with vocals by the Tommy Dorsey Quartet. A reviewer for Variety wrote that "Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra provide the musical background... to get picture away to a good start."
As originally conceived, Broadway Rhythm was to have been the fifth entry in MGM's Broadway Melody series and was to have starred Gene Kelly and Eleanor Powell. All this changed when studio head Louis B. Mayer became interested in promoting the career of Ginny Simms, the young radio vocalist who costars opposite Murphy. After his divorce, Mayer frequently served as Simms' escort; the story goes that, after she turned down a marriage proposal, he lost interest in her film career, which ended in 1951.
Broadway Rhythm spins a backstage tale in which Murphy's character, a Broadway producer, seeks big-name talent for an upcoming show, oblivious to the fact that he is surrounded by family and friends who are more than talented enough to fill the bill. These include his dad (Winninger) and sister (Gloria DeHaven). Even Simms, as the Hollywood star hired to headline Murphy's musical, tries in vain to open his eyes to the obvious.
Meantime, the movie is enlivened by a parade of guest stars including Lena Horne singing "Brazilian Boogie" and "Somebody Loves Me"; the Ross Sisters performing "Solid Potato Salad"; and a young Nancy Walker bringing down the house with "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet." Hazel Scott, Ben Blue and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson also appear. Time magazine called the movie "a Technicolored, tune-stirred summer salad into which MGM's chefs seem to have whipped practically everyone and every thing on the lot except Leo the Growl and Louis B. Mayer."
Thomas "Tommy" Dorsey (1905-1956) was born in Shenandoah, Pa., the younger brother of famed jazz clarinetist Jimmy Dorsey. Tommy was known in his youth as both a trumpet and trombone player. He eventually settled on the trombone, becoming a successful free-lance radio and recording artist in the early 1930s. Before forming "The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra" with Jimmy in 1934, Tommy worked with Jean Goldkette, Paul Whiteman, Bix Beiderbecke, Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang and Red Nichols.
After splitting with his brother, Tommy Dorsey formed his own band and chose "Sentimental" as his signature number. His group became the top band in the country, a title it held through much of the "swing" era. In addition to collaborating with many of the leading musicians of his time, Tommy worked with such outstanding vocalists as Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Connie Haines and The Pied Pipers.
Tommy Dorsey's distinguished recording career was capped by his biggest-selling record, an orchestrated version of the Pinetop Smith classic "Boogie-Woogie" that sold four million copies. The Dorsey Brothers reformed their band in 1953 and had their own television show on CBS in 1955-56.
Producer: Jack Cummings
Director: Roy Del Ruth
Screenplay: Harry Clork, Dorothy Kingsley, from story by Jack McGowan and play Very Warm for May by Oscar Hammerstein II
Cinematography: Leonard Smith
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Jack Martin Smith
Original Music: Tommy Dorsey, Ricardo Lopez Mendez, Don Raye, Gabriel Ruiz, Egbert Van Alstyne, Gene de Paul
Editing: Albert Akst
Costume Design: Irene, Irene Sharaff, Gile Steele
Cast: George Murphy (Johnny Demming), Ginny Simms (Helen Hoyt), Charles Winninger (Sam Demming), Gloria DeHaven (Patsy Demming), Nancy Walker (Trixie Simpson), Ben Blue (Felix Gross), Lena Horne (Fernway de la Fer), Eddie "Rochester" Anderson (Eddie), Hazel Scott (Herself), Tommy Dorsey (Himself, and his Orchestra).
by Roger Fristoe
The working titles of this film were Very Warm for May, Broadway Melody of 1943, Along Broadway and Up and Down Broadway. In addition to the above-mentioned musical numbers, excerpts from the following songs were heard: "Oh, You Beautiful Doll," words and music by Nat D. Ayer and A. Seymour Brown; "In Other Words, Seventeen," "That Lucky Fellow" and "All in Fun," words by Oscar Hammerstein, II, music by Jerome Kern. All of the Hammerstein-Kern numbers, including "All the Things You Are," were written for Very Warm for May, the musical on which the film was loosely based. An April 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Kern and Hammerstein were in Hollywood working on new songs for the screen musical, but no additional Kern-Hammerstein numbers were included in the final film. Although M-G-M music records and publicity material contained at the AMPAS Library note that the song "Tête-à-Tête at Tea Time" by Don Raye and Gene DePaul was recorded for the film by Lena Horne and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, it was not included in the completed film. "My Moonlight Madonna" by Paul Webster, Zedenko Fibich and William Scotti was also recorded for the picture by Gloria DeHaven, but was not used, according to M-G-M music records. Other songs written for the film by Raye and DePaul but not used were "Kid from Seville," "You're Merely Wonderful," "That's Living," "Judaline" and the torch song "When Your Man Is Coming Home," which was to be performed by Horne. Hollywood Reporter announced that Hazel Scott was to perform Johnny Green's "Body and Soul" in the picture, but that number was not included in the final film. Dean Murphy impersonates various celebrities in the picture, including Clark Gable, James Stewart, Joe E. Brown, Edgar Bergen as Charlie McCarthy and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Hollywood Reporter news items add the following information about the production: Many performers were first considered for parts in the picture, including Judy Garland, Fats Waller, Gene Kelly, Kate Smith, Victor Borge, in his screen debut, the Merry Macs and Ed Wynn. Eleanor Powell was originally cast as "Helen," but was replaced by Ginny Simms shortly before the start of principal photography. After Powell left the production, she asked for and received a termination of her M-G-M contract. Although Bobby Connolly was not credited onscreen, he was the picture's original dance director, working with Powell before her departure, and choreographed some of the numbers. Nick Castle was announced as a choreographer, but his contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. According to Hollywood Reporter, Scott's, Horne's and Anderson's characters were originally involved in a romantic triangle in the story, but that subplot was apparently dropped. The script also included a gag in which Jack Benny was to have appeared as an unseen, unheard foil to Anderson, popping up in one-sided phone conversations. Anderson played Benny's manservant on his popular radio show, but the gag was not included in the final film. Hollywood Reporter announced in July 1943 that boxer Joe Louis, who was in the Army at the time, was to appear in a scene with Horne and Anderson, but he, too, did not appear. The following actors were tested for roles in the picture: Gerry Ann Smith, Marilyn Maxwell, Pat Comer, Lona Bolton, Velma Slater, comic accordionists the Selzqs and "Maw and Paw" Greene, Australian vaudeville headliners. Their participation in the completed film has not been confirmed, however. The following actors were cast in the film, according to Hollywood Reporter: Tommy Datten, Ziggie Talent, Buddy Gorman, George Magrill and Florence Ludeen. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to M-G-M publicity material, the "Glamazons," a "show girl group" comprised of "six-foot beauties" Bunny Waters, Helen O'Hara, Dorothy Ford, Sylvia Liggett, Barbara Mace and Susan Paley were cast in the film. Only Bunny Waters is credited onscreen and in reviews; the participation of the others in the completed film has not been confirmed. Although Hollywood Reporter announced that a "musical golf sequence" had been shot at the Bel-Air Country Club, no golf scenes were included in the final film. According to an early April 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, a 16mm version of Broadway Rhythm was screened overseas for American troops prior to its release in the U.S.
"Broadway Rhythm" is a variation of the Jerome Kern/Oscar Hammerstein II musical.
Released in United States 1944
Released in United States 1944