Broadway Melody of 1940

“This musical miracle has achieved immortality because it brought America's foremost tap dancers, Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell, together for their only screen appearance as a team, and in the momentous display of both adagio and jazz-dance to ‘Begin the Beguine,' everyone was dazzled beyond a state of ecstasy. Along the way to this epic finale, the film contains a number of highlights, for, in addition to Astaire, the dancer-actor, George Murphy, also contributes his best performance as Astaire's showbiz buddy who competes with him in love and career. The contrasts between dancing-styles is fascinating to watch, and when Powell and Murphy perform a languorous adagio to ‘Between You And Me,' a lost Cole Porter ballad, it is as unique in its agility of movement and lavishness of style as the simplicity and off-handedness of the first Astaire-Powell tap dance. In a duet, ‘Don't Monkey With Broadway,' Murphy matches Astaire brilliantly in a fast top-hat-and-cane number, as well as providing spectators with an opportunity to compare the individual artistry of the two men as ‘hoofers.' Both Powell and Astaire have their solos, too, and these are exquisite, particularly Astaire, clowning at the piano, and moving jauntily across a deserted stage to ‘I've Got My Eyes On You.' Frank Morgan delivers one of his irresistible variations on bumbling and scheming, a patrician acting like the Wizard of Oz, using an ermine cloak as bait for unwary starlets, and, finally, there are some hilarious vaudeville-turns, particularly one by a deranged soprano at an audition.”

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