Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stormy Weather (1943)

I've been wanting to see this film for a while now, after catching a bit about the Nicholas Brothers in a BET countdown show of the GREATEST DANCERS OF ALL TIME. The above clip--I had watched an abridged version before with just the Nicholas Bros. routine, but above is a longer version with the Cab Calloway number leading into it--is just amazing. They're on some superhuman Jackie Chan shit doing those splits down the stairs at the end! I was under the impression that the Nicholas Bros. were the stars of the film, but actually, they just appear in the climax. The stars are Bill "Bojangles" Robinson (best known for dancing with Shirley Temple) and Dooley Wilson (best known for playing piano in Casablanca), and they're both great. Along the way, they encounter lots of top-shelf talent, including Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Fats Waller. This number really killed me:

The whole movie is back-to-back musical numbers and comedy routines. There's even a blackface routine with Flournoy Miller and Johnnie Lee, two black comedians who perform with blackface on. (The action is set in the post-WWI era, when blackface was popular entertainment, and in some cases black performers were only allowed on stage when wearing blackface.) It's actually a funny routine, I wish I could find it on YouTube.


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