Sunday, February 9, 2014

Family Movie Night: Stormy Weather

Title: Stormy Weather
Director: Andrew L. Stone
Original Release: 1943
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Stormy Weather was produced as a showcase for many of the top African-American entertainers of the 1940s, an era when lead roles for black performers were essentially nonexistent.  Based very loosely on the life story of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, the movie is absolutely loaded with show-stealing talent, led by Robinson, Lena Horne, Fats Waller and Cab Calloway.  There are 20 musical numbers in all, a dazzling display of song and dance.  The story isn't exactly inspiring but the performances are so fantastic that it hardly matters.

With 70 years hindsight, there are some issues.  There are elements of minstrelsy in some of the performances, most prominent in a cakewalk incorporating Little Black Sambo imagery.  Big picture, though, the movie broke down a lot more barriers than it built, providing opportunities and exposure for the performers and broadening the possibilities for African-Americans in film.

Stormy Weather saves the very best for last.  Even if you never watch the entire film, you absolutely must watch the Nicholas Brothers' "Jumpin' Jive" sequence.  No less than Fred Astaire called it the greatest dance number ever filmed.  You'll feel this one in your hamstrings:


14 comments:

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    1. It really is! My wife and daughter watched the clip again over breakfast this morning.

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  2. I know I have seen this movie long long ago. Cannot forget the Nicolas brothers and their amazing skill. During the long afternoons in a rural area, the old movie channels brought out some good and bad movies to show. this was definitely one of the greats.

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    1. It was one of many films we sought out when our daughter's interest in dance took off. It has since become one of the regulars in our rotation.

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  3. I loved watching the movies that had the dance numbers in them with my Mum. Nice memories today.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. So much great dance in this movie. That one's just the cream of the crop.

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  4. What an appropriate title for this time of this cold weather.

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    1. Indeed. A summer storm sounds almost comforting.

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