The titles below are linked to the Internet Movie Database site. Also the IMDB has a forum section for searching movie titles, quotes, connecting with other film buffs, purchasing video tapes or DVDs, seeing the original trailers, etc. Most film descriptions below are from the 750-page Movies Unlimited mail order video catalog. Pages 492-493 in my edition of the catalog have summaries of 68 MGM musicals! (Movies Unlimited has a selection of black musicals unavailable anywhere else also.) MU's mailing address is:
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Description: A glittery, surrealistic musical by Bob Fosse. Roy Scheider is a demanding musical director trying to find meaning in his work and his life. Dazzling dance numbers. Includes appearances by Ben Vereen, Jessica Lange and Ann Reinking. 123 min.
Description: The dancing of Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, a classic score by George Gershwin and the romantic settings of the City of Lights make for a timeless musical delight. Winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. 113 min.
Description: Pierce Delacroix a young African-American network executive whose boss orders him to come up with a hot trend-setting urban hit. With the help of a homeless tap dancer and his sidekick, Delacroix creates "Mantan" the new millenium minstrel show. Starring: Damon Wayans, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Savion Glover. 136 min.
Description: A super MGM musical! it's a tune-filled tale about a has-been movie star who takes to Broadway to find a new career. Songs include "Dancing in the Dark," "Shine on Your Shoes," and "That's Entertainment." Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Jack Buchanan. 112 min.
Description: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' final screen pairing is also a deft spoof of their public image, as they portray a popular but endlessly bickering husband and wife dance team. Includes the reprise of "They Can't Take That Away From Me" and the "Shoes with Wings On" number. Oscar Levant also stars. 109 min.
Description: The award-winning actor and dancer Gregory Hines stars in this look at the life of extraordinary tap dancing legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. This is the story of an incredibly talented man who struggled with the demons of his past and the racism of his time, but still entertained millions with his unique and complex dance style. 101 min.
Description: Gene Kelly and Van Johnson witness the awakening of a magical Scottish village which comes alive every 100 years. Lerner and Loewe classic score. Cyd Charisse. 108 min.
Description: Bob Gordon is staging a new Broadway Show, but he is short of money. He gets an offer of money by the young widow Lilian, if she can dance in his new show. Bert Keeler, a paper man, gets this information and is writing about this in his column in an slight unfriendly way. Gordon's old class mate Irene Forster, a tap dancer from Albany also tries to get the leading role in this show, but Lilian insistes in getting this part herself. So Irene Forster, Bert Keeler and Gordon's secretary Kitty start a little game to get Irene the leading role. Stars include Eleanor Powell, Jack Benny, Vilma and Buddy Ebsen, and Robert Taylor. Choreographer Dave Gould won an Academy Award.
Description: Stars include Eleanor Powell, George Murphy, Judy Garland and Buddy Ebsen.
Description: Top-flight entertainment highlighted by a marvelous Cole porter score ("Begin the Beguine"), exciting Fred Astaire-Eleanor Powell dance numbers, and some hilarious skits. Also stars George Murphy, Frank Morgan and Ian Hunter. Choreographer is Bobby Connelly who was responsible for the musical numbers in the "Wizard of Oz." 102 min.
Description: Carefree features Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - summary from Internet Movie DB: Dr Tony Flagg's friend Steven has problems with the relation to his fiancee Amanda, so he persuades her to be visit Dr. Flagg. After some minor misunderstandings she felt in love with Dr Flagg. When he tries to use hypnose to strongen her feelings to Steven, things get complicated. 103 min.
- Description: Francis Ford Coppola's lavish recreation of the famed Harlem nightclub and the gang lords wo went there is a reiveting daram highlighted with a nostalgic jazz score. Richard Gere is a musician (trumpet, doing his own playing!) mixed up with the mob. Diane Lane is the boss' girl he falls for. With Gregory and Maurice Hines, Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne. 127 min.
Comments: Features Maurice and Gregory Hines as a brother tap duo and a visit to the "Hoofers Club" where Honi Coles (as 'Sugar') presides. Greg also does a great a capella solo and stair dance as counterpoint to gunfire as the camera cuts back and forth. Tap choreography by Henry LeTang and 'improvography' by Gregory Hines for his solos. (PJC)
- Daddy Long Legs (1955)
- Description: Lavish, dance-filled extravaganza starring Leslie Caron as a French orphan whose schooling is sponsored by an anonymous American millionaire, played by Fred Astaire. The millionaire's secretary persuades her boss to visit the girl, and romance soon blooms. Terry Moore, Thelma Ritter costar; songs include "Something's Got to Give." 128 min.
- Follow The Fleet (1936)
Description: Fred's a gum-chewing sailor, Ginger's a dance hall hostess, and they dance together to some of Irvin Berlin's best-loved songs, including "Let Yourself Go" and "We Saw the Sea." Costars Betty Grable, Randolph Scott; look quickly for Lucille Ball. 110 min.
- Flying Down to Rio (1933)
- Description: The credits in this breezy musical may list Dolores Del Rio first, but Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers steal the show in their first film together. Features the classic "Carioca" number and dozens of chorus girls dancing on the wings of airplanes "in midair." 89 min.
Comments: Great tap number by the Nicholas Brothers also. (PJC)
- Footlight Parade (1933)
Description: One of Busby Berkeley's best, featuring out-of-this-world musical numbers and songs like "Honeymoon Hotel," "By a Waterfall," and "Shanghai Lil." James Cagney is a down-and-out stage producer who tries his hand at supendous dance numbers. Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell costar. 105 min.
- The Gay Divorcee (1934)
Description: There's dancing in the divorce court with Astaire and Rogers doing "Night and Day," "The Continental," and more. Co-stars Betty Grable and Edward Everett Horton in one of Hollywood's glossiest productions. 107 min.
- Happy Feet (2006)
- Description: Savion Glover leads this high energy Oscar winning animated feature that brings tap dance to young audiences in a contemporary and heart-felt way. 109 min.
- Holiday Inn (1942)
- Description: Irving Berlin's musical trip through the calendar featuring the film debut of the song "White Chrismas." Bing Crosby is an entertainer who tires of the stage life and buys a country inn to relax, only to find he can't escape show biz, especially when hoofer Fred Astaire tries to woo Bing's girl. 101 min.
Comments: A partner tap number by Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds, when he was 'drunk', crashing the New Year's Eve party at the Inn. Fred, later in the film, does a solo number tapping with firecrackers going off. Great fun! (Note: film includes black stereotyping including a blackface number for Lincoln's Birthday.) (PJC)
- Hooray For Love (1935)
Description: film partnered Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Jeni Le Gon, pioneering female tapper. If you see this one on TV or cable, tape it as it isn't available on video! (Not in Movies Unlimited catalog.)
- It's Always Fair Weather (1955)
Description: Gene Kelly film comedy. Three soldiers meet 10 years after their last meeting in New York again, and find out, that they have litte in common now. (Follow-up to "On the Town.") Includes Gene doing a street tap number in roller skates. 102min.
- Just Around The Corner (1938)
Description: When her architect/father loses his job, it's up to little Shirley Temple to talk a miserly tycoon into creating new jobs to help out Depression-riddled America. Winning musical tale also stars Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Charles Farrell, Bert Lahr. Songs include "I'll Be Lucky With You", "I'm Not Myself Today". One of four films featuring Shirley and "Bojangles". 70 min.
- The Little Colonel (1935)
Description: One of Shirley Temple's best-loved films, with the million-dollar moppet playing peacemaker between her ex-Confederate officer grandfather and her mother, who married a Yankee. Features the classic "stair dance" between Temple and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. One of four films featuring Shirley Temple and "Bojangles" Robinson. [Note: the Internet Movie Database lists a 1925 silent film of the same title.]
- The Littlest Rebel (1935)
Description: When her father is arrested by Union soldiers and wrongly sentenced to death as a Confederate spy, singing Southeren belle Shirley Temple goes all the way to President Lincoln to save his live. Features John Bolles, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. 73 min.
- Night and Day (1946)
- Description: The life and times of composer Cole Porter in this black and white film from the UK featuring Cary Grant.
Comments: Dance numbers include a solo tap dance done by a woman named Estelle Sloan. [according to an email correspondent.]
- On The Town (1949)
- Description: Three sailors - Gene Kelly, Jules Munshin and Frank Sinatra - on shore leave for 24 hours in the Big Apple get involved with three local gals. This was the first of the three musicals made by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen for MGM and marked Kelly's succession as the number one star of Hollywood dance. 1 hr. 38 min.
Comments: Dance numbers include Ann Miller and Vera-Ellen.
- Pardon My Sarong (1942)
Description: An Abbott and Costello comedy which has an appearance by the singing group the Ink Spots, and a number by the tap group Tip Tap and Toe. The plot summary descibes the plot as bus drivers who end up on a tropical island, involved with jewel thieves.
- Pennies From Heaven (1981)
- Description: With drive and dexterity, Steve Martin triumphs as Arthur Parker, a Depression-era sheet music salesman doomed forever to believe in the lyrics of the songs he sells. Though life steadily worsens for him and his schoolteacher mistress (Bernadette Peters), he goes on believing it's still just a bowl of cherries--even when he's got nothing but the pits. Pauline Kael of the New Yorker said, "Extraordinary. The most emotional musical I've ever seen." Choreography by Danny Daniels featuring top notch numbers and an electrifying dance solo by Christopher Walken. [From video jacket] 1 hr. 48 min.
Comments: While this film is definitely a darkly moody musical, There are several great musical numbers. Christopher Walken does a strip routine while tapping to "Let's Misbehave." The film also has Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters tapping in a big production number. The story is by Dennis Potter the creator of the great British TV series "The Singing Detective." PJC
- Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm (1938)
Description: It's not really based on the classic story, but this tale of a child's becoming a radio star is a must-see for Shirley Temple fans. Little Shirley sings "Crackly Corn Flakes", "Old Straw Hat", and a medley that includes "Good Ship Lollipop." Also stars Randolph Scott, Jack Haley and Bill Robinson. One of four films featuring Shirley Temple and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. 80 min.
- Roberta (1935)
Description: The lively dancing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers highlights this Jerome Kern-Otto Harbach musical, set in Paris and featuring Irene Dunn and Randolph Scott. Look for an unknown Lucille Ball in the fashion show sequence! Score includes "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," and "Lovely to Look At." 105 min.
- Royal Wedding (1951)
- Description: Fred Astaire and Jane Powell are a brother/sister team performing in England during Queen Elizabeth II's coronation and finding romance along the way. Includes the amazing sequence of Fred dancing on the walls and ceiling of his hotel room. This is the complete 93-min MGM print.
Comments: In addition to the scene with Fred dancing up the walls and across the ceiling he also tap dances with gym equipment including a hatrack as he rehearses for a ballroom number with no partner. He breaks out of the ballroom routine and taps. (PJC)
- Shall We Dance (1937)
- Description: A fine George Gershwin score that includes "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" and "They All laughed" highlights this Astaire-Rogers tale of a dancing duo who pretend to be newlyweds. 116 min.
Comments: By the way, there is another Shall We Dance (1996) a Japanese film favorite of anyone who has taken ballroom dancing lessons. (PJC)
- Singin' In The Rain (1952)
- Description: Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor star in what is probably the most famous and best-loved of all screen musicals. Set in Hollywood at the end of the silent era, the film features such classic numbers as "Make 'Em Laugh," "Broadway Ballet" and the title tune. Newly remastered version features the original recorded soundtrack, the theatrical trailer, rare outtakes, Reynolds' rendition of "You Are My Lucky Star" and original poster art packaging. 103 min.
Comments: Cyd Charisse has a sultry dance with Gene in a "dream sequence" nightclub number also. The "Singin' in the Rain" street soft shoe number is a classic. (PJC)
- Stage Door (1937)
Description: Classic comedy-drama centers around lives of women in theatrical boarding house and their dreams of stardom. Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball and Ann Miller head a top cast. 92 min.
- Stepping Out (1991)
Description: High-stepping musical-drama starring Liza Minnelli as a failed Broadway dancer who gives tap-dance (and life) lessons to a group of people in and old church. The're put on the spot when asked to dance in a benefit, but the difficult practice sessions bring the troupe together. Shelly Winters, Ellen Greene, Julie Walters co-star. 112 min.
- Stormy Weather (1943)
- Description: One of mainstream Hollywood's rare all-black musicals, showcasing Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's dancing and Lena Horne's singing and a romantic subplot. Also features Fats Waller, Cab Calloway and his orchestra, the Nicholas Brothers and Dooley Wilson ("Casablanca.") 77 min.
Comments: Minimal dancing by Bojangles, unfortunately. He has one number tapping across some drums. The Nicholas Brothers are amazing. Their portion includes running up the wall and landing in a split, furiously tapping everywhere and leap-frogging each other into splits coming down a set of huge stairs, all in tuxedos. This film is also great if you're a Lena Horne fan. (PJC)
- Swing Time
Description: Delightful film features Fred and Ginger as a successful dance team whose budding romance is hampered by the girl Fred left back home (Betty Furness.) The Jerome Kern music includes "Pick Yourself Up" and "A Fine Romance." 103 min.
- Tap (1989)
- Description: Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis, Jr. and some legendary hoofers star in a rousing dance showcase about a second-generation tapper and paroled jewel thief who's torn between the stage an returning to his lavish life of crime. A throwback to those classic MGM musical, costarring Suzzanne Douglas. Choreography by Henry LeTang and Gregory Hines. Written and directed by Nick Castle. 115 min.
Comments: The sequence of tap dancers in the "Challenge" scene is: Arthur Duncan, Bunny Briggs, Jimmy Slyde, Steve Condos, Harold Nicholas, Sandman Sims and finally Sammy Davis, Jr. and Gregory Hines. The Shim Sham Girls in the nightclub scene are: Suzanne Douglas, Jane Goldberg, Dorothy Wasserman, Dianne Walker and Frances Neely. (PJC)
- Top Hat
Description: What is arguably the best of the Astaire-Rogers musicals features a classic Irving Berlin score, including "Cheek to Cheek" and "Isn't It A Lovely Day to Be Caught In the Rain?" Fred and Ginger at their graceful best. 97 min.
- White Christmas
Description: Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye star as former Army buddies and Broadway producers who head to Vermont to a ski lodge run by their former CO. Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen also star. Irving Berlin score. 120 min.
- White Nights (1985)
Description: We have a film, we have an awesome film. Mikhail Baryshnikov stars as a defected Soviet ballet star who is recaptured when his plane crashes in Russia. Eager to escape to the West, he plans a daring secape with an American dancer (Gregory Hines) living in Russia. Costars Jerzy Skolimowski, Helen Mirren. 135 min.