Born to Dance–More fun on Turner Classic Movies

To be honest, I sometimes forget to even look at TCM’s listings.  Periodically there’s such a run of Westerns or war movies or gangster movies or one star movies that I just quit looking.  But I happened to peruse a few days of their schedule yesterday and saw a spate of ’30’s musicals early this morning.  Most starred Eleanor Powell but the collection featured a host of favorites, so I set record on most of them.

The first one I chose to watch was Born to Dance;  though a lot of the plot made no sense or was silly, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Buddy Ebsen, Virginia Bruce, and Una Merkel, among others, as side characters were great fun.  Lots of zany 30’s humor kept me laughing.  And the Cole Porter score included a number of his greats.

Una Merkel on the Argentinean Magazine cover.

Una Merkel on the Argentinean Magazine cover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The song choices also included a couple so stupid I had to remind myself that Cole Porter must have written these too; took him down a notch or two in my estimation…  The tune about the Pekingese… oh boy!

The annual What a Character series is running — bloggers pick character actors and write posts.  I read all the ones she listed on Day 2; well worth checking these out if you like old movies and character actors.  One of the posts noted they used to write great scenes for character actors and that doesn’t happen any more.  This film devoted several long scenes to just the character actors and, with the fresh realization that character actors are no longer given the same status, I appreciated even more what a treat those scenes were.

Although Eleanor Powell’s name is completely familiar to me I can never call a face to mind and as I watched, I really wasn’t sure I’d seen one of her movies.  Since I’m a huge fan of 30’s movies and she was a major star, that surprises me and it’s possible I just don’t remember.

It led me to look her up on line.  I was amazed to find out she was considered the one female dancer who possibly could out-dance Fred Astaire and that he was intimidated by her.  Once I watched her dance, I could really see how this might be.  Apparently a dance number they performed in Begin the Beguine is considered one of the best ever so I’ll be watching for it on the TCM schedule.  Also didn’t know she’s credited with saving a failing MGM in the mid 30’s with her Broadway Melody hits.

All in all great fun.  I’m so looking forward to watching the rest of the recordings over the next few days!


2 thoughts on “Born to Dance–More fun on Turner Classic Movies

  1. Great post, thanks for the link love! I love doing WHAT A CHARACTER every year. I believe Eleanor Powell gets confused with Eleanor Parker, who herself is unsung, I believe because she wasn’t afraid to switch up her look, which wasn’t really done in the classic era. Just my thoughts.


    • Thanks!
      I have to sort them out in my mind but since I associate Parker with Sound of Music and then realize that she was too young to have been in those 30’s movies, I can get her separated from Powell. I have a few more Powell movies on the DVR so I’ll watch for that change of looks.


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