1) Born to Dance; 2) Broadway Melody of 1940; 3) Rosalie; 4) rehearsing; 5) Broadway Melody of 1936; 6) with Fred Astaire, Broadway Melody of 1940; 7) with George Murphy, Broadway Melody of 1940; 8) rehearsing with George Murphy; 9) with George Murphy, Broadway Melody of 1940
One of the great unsung dance routines from the glory days of the MGM musical is Eleanor Powell dancing the “Tallulah” number from 1942’s Ship Ahoy. Powell combines tap, ballet, acrobatics, even some trapeze, and an athletic sex appeal for a number that will make you feel like hauling the old carcass out of the recliner and taking a whirl or two yourself over the linoleum. Although dancing like a tempest, Powell finds the time to insert several charming moments into her dance—-we particularly like the bit when she smilingly turns down an offer of an ice-cream soda from co-star Bert Lahr (such willpower!)—-as well as finishing with a socko climax, involving master drummer Buddy Rich and several pairs of drumsticks. There may never be another tap dancer like Powell; her rhythmic control, of the flow of movement through instep, ankle, knee, and thigh (watch the moment when she taps out the rhythm using floor, table, and chair), is astonishing. Also on hand to join the fun are Red Skelton, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, and a chorus of lovelies. The film is now out on a Warner Bros Archive DVD.