Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)

100 or 102 mins | Musical | 9 February 1940

Director:

Norman Taurog

Producer:

Jack Cummings

Cinematographers:

Joseph Ruttenberg, Oliver T. Marsh

Editor:

Blanche Sewell

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

This was Fred Astaire's first picture for M-G-M since the 1933 film Dancing Lady, and it was the first picture Astaire made following his departure from RKO. It was also the fourth and last of M-G-M's "Broadway Melody" pictures. For additional information about the films, see entries above for Broadway Melody of 1936 and Broadway Melody of 1938. According to modern sources, the film was originally to have been shot in Technicolor, but because of the unsettled economic conditions caused by the start of the war in Europe, M-G-M decided to film it in black and white. Modern sources add that the set for the "Begin the Beguine" number cost $120,000 to construct and used a sixty foot multi-paneled mirror mounted on a revolving track that swung around to change backgrounds during the dance. Cole Porter wrote the song in 1935, and it was one of his biggest hits. ...

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This was Fred Astaire's first picture for M-G-M since the 1933 film Dancing Lady, and it was the first picture Astaire made following his departure from RKO. It was also the fourth and last of M-G-M's "Broadway Melody" pictures. For additional information about the films, see entries above for Broadway Melody of 1936 and Broadway Melody of 1938. According to modern sources, the film was originally to have been shot in Technicolor, but because of the unsettled economic conditions caused by the start of the war in Europe, M-G-M decided to film it in black and white. Modern sources add that the set for the "Begin the Beguine" number cost $120,000 to construct and used a sixty foot multi-paneled mirror mounted on a revolving track that swung around to change backgrounds during the dance. Cole Porter wrote the song in 1935, and it was one of his biggest hits.

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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1940
p. 3
Film Daily
14 Feb 1940
p. 5
Hollywood Reporter
22 Aug 1939
p. 3
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 1939
pp. 6-7
Hollywood Reporter
25 Nov 1939
pp. 6-7
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 1940
p. 3
Motion Picture Daily
6 Feb 1940
p. 6
Motion Picture Herald
11 Nov 1939
p. 54
Motion Picture Herald
10 Feb 1940
p. 36
New York Times
29 Mar 1940
p. 25
New York Times
31 Mar 1940
p. 5
Variety
7 Feb 1940
p. 14
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Orig story
Orig story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
Photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
Men's cost
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus arr
Mus presentation
Vocal and orch
Vocal and orch
Vocal and orch
SOUND
Rec dir
DANCE
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
SOURCES
MUSIC
"Jukebox Dance" by Walter Ruick; "All Ashore" by Roger Edens.
SONGS
"I Concentrate on You," "I've Got My Eyes on You," "Between You and Me," "Please Don't Monkey with Broadway" and "Begin the Beguine," words and music by Cole Porter.
SONGWRITER/COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
9 February 1940
Production Date:
early Sep--late Nov 1939
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Loew's Inc.
9 February 1940
LP9467
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
100 or 102
Length(in reels):
11
Country:
United States
PCA No:
5866
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

The struggling dance team of Johnny Brett and King Shaw is split up when, in a case of mistaken identity, theatrical agent Bert C. Matthews offers King rather than Johnny the job of leading man in Broadway star Clare Bennett's new show. Success goes to King's head, but Johnny loyally sticks by his friend, even coaching him with his dance steps. King grows so egotistical that he begins to neglect practice and becomes convinced that Clare is in love with him. Meanwhile, Clare comes to realize that Johnny is the real talent behind King and finds herself falling in love with him. When, on opening night, King has a spat with Johnny and gets so drunk that he is unable to perform, Johnny goes on in his place and saves the show. Once he sobers up, King realizes that he has acted the fool and rectifies the situation by abdicating to Johnny both Clare and his ...

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The struggling dance team of Johnny Brett and King Shaw is split up when, in a case of mistaken identity, theatrical agent Bert C. Matthews offers King rather than Johnny the job of leading man in Broadway star Clare Bennett's new show. Success goes to King's head, but Johnny loyally sticks by his friend, even coaching him with his dance steps. King grows so egotistical that he begins to neglect practice and becomes convinced that Clare is in love with him. Meanwhile, Clare comes to realize that Johnny is the real talent behind King and finds herself falling in love with him. When, on opening night, King has a spat with Johnny and gets so drunk that he is unable to perform, Johnny goes on in his place and saves the show. Once he sobers up, King realizes that he has acted the fool and rectifies the situation by abdicating to Johnny both Clare and his role.

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Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.