Broadway Melody of 1936


1h 43m 1935
Broadway Melody of 1936

Brief Synopsis

A Broadway columnist tries to use an innocent dancer to frame a producer.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Sep 20, 1935
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 18 Sep 1935
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Because newspaper and radio columnist Bert Keeler is told by his managing editor that he has to stop writing about "Blessed Events" and start digging up dirt, he goes after young Broadway producer and songwriter Bob Gordon. Gordon's new musical, Broadway Rhythm , is getting its backing from heiress Lillian Brent, who also wants to star in the show, and Keeler's column won't leave them alone. Gordon resorts to punching Keeler in the nose several times, but as the paper's circulation, and Keeler's salary, rise he keeps at it. During rehearsals, Bob's childhood sweetheart, Irene Foster, comes to his office, but he doesn't recognize her. She goes away, but when he finds the fraternity pin that he once had given her in his office, he tells his secretary, Kitty Corbett, to find her. She auditions for his show, but, even though he is attracted to her again, he tells her that Broadway isn't for her. She dreams of being a hit in his show, but Bob won't give her a chance and instead buys her ticket to go back home. Meanwhile, Lillian has gotten Bob to agree that if he doesn't find a prominent star for the show within two weeks, she can play the lead. As a gag, Keeler has been planting phony stories about a French musical star named Mlle. La Belle Arlette, and when Kitty uncovers the ruse, she helps Irene assume that identity. As Arlette, Irene wins Bob's enthusiastic approval to star in his show, despite Lillian's anger. Just as Irene's dreams are about to come true, however, Keeler calls, knowing that she is an impostor, and reveals that there is a real Arlette who is planning to sue the paper if the publicity does not stop. Irene convinces him to help her, though, and they go to Bob's cast party. When Arlette never shows up, and Irene dances, Bob realizes they are one and the same and that Broadway is where he and Irene belong.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Sep 20, 1935
Premiere Information
New York premiere: 18 Sep 1935
Production Company
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
Distribution Company
Loew's Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 43m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Award Wins

Best Dance Direction

1936

Award Nominations

Best Picture

1936

Best Writing, Screenplay

1936

Articles

Broadway Melody of 1936


Among the Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown score for Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) are four songs that would be repeated in Singin' in the Rain (1951): "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'," "Broadway Rhythm" and "You Are My Lucky Star."

The second of four Broadway Melody musicals, Broadway Melody of 1936 is considered by many the best in the MGM series, thanks largely to a sparkling performance from tap dancer Eleanor Powell in her first major role in a big-budget movie. Powell, soon to be touted by the studio as the "Broadway Melody Girl," would also star in the 1938 and 1940 editions of the series. In Broadway Melody of 1936 Jack Benny also shines in an atypical role as a Walter Winchell-type columnist involved in a feud with Broadway producer Robert Taylor. Powell is Taylor's childhood sweetheart, who gets into his latest show by masquerading as a celebrated French stage star called Mlle. Arlette.

Taylor (using his own voice, for better or worse) and June Knight duet on "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'," with Nick Long Jr. taking over as Knight's dancing partner. "Broadway Rhythm," the first of the elaborate production numbers that would become Powell's signature, also includes Buddy Ebsen, then half of a brother-and-sister song-and-dance team, Buddy and Vilma Ebsen, plus singer Frances Langford and other performers.

"You Are My Lucky Star" is conceived as a dream ballet, giving Powell a rare film opportunty to show off her early training in ballet. The number begins with Powell (dubbed by Marjorie Lane) singing the song in an empty theater and imagining herself the star of a production that also features the Albertina Rasch Ballet. The ballerinas reportedly were forced to remain on point for such long periods during filming that blood was seeping through their slippers. Between takes they took off their shoes and put on ice on their feet -- although Powell refused to do this because she feared she wouldn't be able to force her swollen feet back into their slippers. According to Powell biographer Margie Schultz, the dancer lost four toenails on her right foot during the filming.

Broadway Melody of 1936 won an Oscar for Dave Gould's dance direction and was nominated as Best Picture and for the original story by Moss Hart.

Producer: John W. Considine Jr.
Director: Roy Del Ruth
Screenplay: Moss Hart (story), Jack McGowan, Sid Silvers, Harry W. Cohn (additional dialogue)
Cinematography: Charles Rosher
Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons
Editing: Blanche Sewell
Original Music: Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed
Costume Design: Adrian
Musical Director: Alfred Newman
Choreographer: Dave Gould
Principal Cast: Jack Benny (Bert Keeler), Eleanor Powell (Irene Foster/Mlle.Arlette), Robert Taylor (Bob Gordon), Una Merkel (Kitty Corbett), Frances Langford (Singer), Sid Silvers (Snoop Blue), Buddy Ebsen (Buddy Burke), Vilma Ebsen (Sally Burke), June Knight (Lillian Brent), Nick Long Jr. (Basil Newcombe).
BW-102m. Closed captioning.

by Roger Fristoe
Broadway Melody Of 1936

Broadway Melody of 1936

Among the Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown score for Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935) are four songs that would be repeated in Singin' in the Rain (1951): "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'," "Broadway Rhythm" and "You Are My Lucky Star." The second of four Broadway Melody musicals, Broadway Melody of 1936 is considered by many the best in the MGM series, thanks largely to a sparkling performance from tap dancer Eleanor Powell in her first major role in a big-budget movie. Powell, soon to be touted by the studio as the "Broadway Melody Girl," would also star in the 1938 and 1940 editions of the series. In Broadway Melody of 1936 Jack Benny also shines in an atypical role as a Walter Winchell-type columnist involved in a feud with Broadway producer Robert Taylor. Powell is Taylor's childhood sweetheart, who gets into his latest show by masquerading as a celebrated French stage star called Mlle. Arlette. Taylor (using his own voice, for better or worse) and June Knight duet on "I've Got a Feelin' You're Foolin'," with Nick Long Jr. taking over as Knight's dancing partner. "Broadway Rhythm," the first of the elaborate production numbers that would become Powell's signature, also includes Buddy Ebsen, then half of a brother-and-sister song-and-dance team, Buddy and Vilma Ebsen, plus singer Frances Langford and other performers. "You Are My Lucky Star" is conceived as a dream ballet, giving Powell a rare film opportunty to show off her early training in ballet. The number begins with Powell (dubbed by Marjorie Lane) singing the song in an empty theater and imagining herself the star of a production that also features the Albertina Rasch Ballet. The ballerinas reportedly were forced to remain on point for such long periods during filming that blood was seeping through their slippers. Between takes they took off their shoes and put on ice on their feet -- although Powell refused to do this because she feared she wouldn't be able to force her swollen feet back into their slippers. According to Powell biographer Margie Schultz, the dancer lost four toenails on her right foot during the filming. Broadway Melody of 1936 won an Oscar for Dave Gould's dance direction and was nominated as Best Picture and for the original story by Moss Hart. Producer: John W. Considine Jr. Director: Roy Del Ruth Screenplay: Moss Hart (story), Jack McGowan, Sid Silvers, Harry W. Cohn (additional dialogue) Cinematography: Charles Rosher Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons Editing: Blanche Sewell Original Music: Nacio Herb Brown, Arthur Freed Costume Design: Adrian Musical Director: Alfred Newman Choreographer: Dave Gould Principal Cast: Jack Benny (Bert Keeler), Eleanor Powell (Irene Foster/Mlle.Arlette), Robert Taylor (Bob Gordon), Una Merkel (Kitty Corbett), Frances Langford (Singer), Sid Silvers (Snoop Blue), Buddy Ebsen (Buddy Burke), Vilma Ebsen (Sally Burke), June Knight (Lillian Brent), Nick Long Jr. (Basil Newcombe). BW-102m. Closed captioning. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

Rumours say that Eleanor Powell didn't want at first to play in the movie but was to polite to tell MGM officials directly. She asked for the leading role and an exorbitant salary, and MGM accepted her demands.

When retakes were needed, director Roy Del Ruth was already working on Thanks a Million (1935), so W.S. Van Dyke directed the retakes.

Notes

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 Bergère 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.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1936

Released in United States 1936