Tap Dancing in the Movies
- Part 2 E - O
Easter Parade (1948) - Fred Astaire merges
his talents as both drummer and tap dancer during the ‘Drum Crazy’ sequence, as he tries to get a cuddly toy from
a little boy. Ann Miller shows during ‘Shakin’ The Blues Away’ why she deserved the ‘machine-gun tapper’
nickname. In ‘Stepping Out With My Baby’, Fred has several dance partners and we also see him in slow motion.
Everything Is Rhythm (1936) - There’s
a little bit of tap from a blonde lady on a small wooden board. Shortly after there’s some tapping chorus girls, joined
by Johnny Nitt whose routine includes many wings. Harry Roy and the blonde then become ‘miniature’ and sing and
dance on a piano with the chorus.
Flying Down To Rio (1933) - Fred and Ginger
dance the ‘Carioca’ - a sequence which lasts for just over 10 minutes. Fred taps alone later on with some close-ups
of his feet. Although the ‘Flying Down To Rio’ number doesn’t have any tap, it’s worth a watch for
the chorus girls dancing on the wings of ‘flying’ planes!
Follow The Fleet (1936) - Fred and Ginger
perform a lovely duet in the dance competition at the nightclub where Ginger works. Fred then does a brilliant tap routine
when he and his band entertain guests aboard the ship. He also manages to involve a chorus of sailors! Ginger performs a great
number on her own as she auditions, then they pair up again for ‘I’m Putting All My Eggs In One Basket’.
Footlight Parade (1933) - Ruby Keeler gives
us a little bit of tap as she auditions. At the end of the film Ruby and James Cagney dance on a bar and a table during the
song ‘Shanghai Lil’.
For Me And My Gal (1942) - This film sees
Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and George Murphy as struggling vaudeville acts. A very
heavily disguised Gene performs a very energetic dance in oversized shoes! The next routine sees George and Judy dancing to
‘Oh You Beautiful Doll’. Gene and Judy then perform the title song in a café. Once they’ve paired up as
a duo the fabulous ‘Ballin’ The Jack’ routine follows.
Gold Diggers Of 1935 (1935) - Almost at
the end of this film is the incredible ‘Lullaby of Broadway’ number with what appears to be hundreds of tappers.
Hi-De-Ho (1947) - There are several films
featuring Cab Calloway that have a similar title. However, the 1947 one features an astounding piece of tap dancing from The
Miller Brothers and Lois. The whole routine lasts nearly 7 minutes, and they dance on the floor, then on top of some large
wooden letters spelling MILLER, then a thin platform is then added to the top of that. Finally they dance on another platform,
which is quite high and show off amazing skills of ‘over the tops’ and ‘trenches’.
Hit The Deck (1955) - There’s a little
bit of tap near the start of the film from Ann Miller during the song ‘Keeping Myself For You’. A bit later we
get some more tap, this time from Debbie Reynolds
and four sailors, during rehearsals for the new show Hit The Deck. The ‘Hallelujah’
finale features more tap from Ann.
Holiday Inn (1942) - Fred Astaire and Bing
Crosby star as performers. Bing decides he’s had enough and wants to start a club that only opens on the holidays. The
first number of the show features Fred, Bing and Virginia Dale in the song ‘I’ll Capture Her Heart’. Next
Fred and Virginia perform together to ‘You’re Easy To Dance With’. A ‘drunk’ Fred then dances
with Marjorie Reynolds and decides she should be his new partner. Fred and Marjorie then dance to ‘Washington’s
Birthday’ despite Bing constantly changing the music to try and spoil it. Later in the film, Fred dances solo using
firecrackers to accentuate his rhythms. The final number features all four leads singing and dancing.
In The Navy (1941) - This is probably well
known to fans of Abbott and Costello or The Andrew Sisters, but it also contains some fantastic tap from 2 of The Condos Brothers
- Frank and Harry. I watched the tap sequence several times as it was so amazing - not only are they executing extremely difficult
steps at an incredibly fast pace, but also they are completely together with all their taps, turns and arms.
Invitation To The Dance (1956) - Gene Kelly’s
film containing three half hour sequences, each telling a story through dance. The second of these, entitled Ring Around The Rosy has some extremely acrobatic tap from Tommy Rall. The third sequence, Sinbad The Sailor, sees Gene tapping with some cartoon Arabian guards.
It’s Always Fair Weather (1955) -
Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey and Michael Kidd star as three soldiers who have just left the army. Near the start there’s a
great routine with all of them which includes dancing in and out, and on top of, a taxi plus some tap with a dustbin lid attached
to one foot. Much later in the film a ‘drunk’ Dan gives a chaotic performance with a little bit of tap. We are
then treated to Gene tap dancing in the street whilst wearing roller skates - very impressive.
Just Around The Corner (1938) - This film
has the lovely pairing of Shirley Temple and Bill Robinson. Twenty minutes in Bill joins Shirley and others for a song and
dance. There’s more tap from Bill, who plays a doorman, when he’s joined by some colleagues, and he dances with
them, and then on his own.
Kid Millions (1934) - Although George Murphy
is in this film there’s no tap from him. The tap dancing comes from the very young Nicholas Brothers during the song
‘Mandy’, showing that even at ages 13 and 20 they were fabulous!
Kiss Me Kate (1953) - Musical about a musical
version of The Taming Of The Shrew. Ann Miller does some amazingly quick tapping
and turning in ‘Too Darn Hot’. Ann and Tommy Rall then do a comedy tap routine to ‘Why Can’t You Behave’.
There’s more tap later during the ‘show’ as Ann and Tommy plus Bob Fosse and Bobby Van dance to ‘Tom,
Dick Or Harry’. Later Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore sing ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’ and perform a great
comedic dance. The ‘show’ section also contains some fabulous dancing to ‘From This Moment On’ which
features Ann, Tommy, Bob and Bobby plus Carol Haney and Jeannie Coyne.
Lady Be Good (1941) - This film is about
a husband and wife hit song-writing team. One of their songs is ‘Lady Be Good’ and about ¾ of the way through
the film Eleanor Powell dances to it in her apartment with a very well trained dog! The ‘Fascinating Rhythm’ sequence
features great acrobatic tap from The Berry Brothers plus amazing stuff from Eleanor.
Let’s Dance (1950) - Fred Astaire
dances on top of, behind and underneath a couple of pianos as he tries out new routines for a show. There are also several
lovely routines from Fred and Betty Hutton which all have a touch of comedy and a little bit of tap dancing.
Little Miss Broadway (1938) - Shirley Temple
plays an orphan who gets adopted by a hotel manager. George Murphy plays the nephew of the hotel owner. When they first meet
they sing ‘We Should Be Together’ and perform a lovely tap dance. They dance together again later to the title
Lovely To Look At (1952) - Ann Miller plays
the girlfriend of a Broadway producer looking for a backer. 10 minutes into the film she gives an outstanding performance
to ‘I’ll Be Hard To Handle’. Also include fabulous dancing from Marge and Gower Champion.
Lullaby Of Broadway (1951) - This film starts
with Doris Day singing and dancing to ‘Just One Of Those Things’. At a party later Gene Nelson then does a fabulous
routine to ‘Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart’. Then they dance together for ‘You’re Getting To Be
A Habit With Me’. Minutes later there’s another lovely duet as Doris auditions for ‘Lullaby Of Broadway’.
There’s a tiny bit more tap in rehearsal scenes before the final number of the film, set to the title tune, which features
Doris, Gene and the chorus.
Night and Day (1946) - The story of Cole
Prter, played by Cary Grant. This film features many great Cole Porter songs - the first with some tap is ‘You Do Something
To Me’ with Jane Wyman and a male chorus. During the song ‘Just One Of Those Things’ there is some absolutely
amazing tap from a lady who is possibly Estelle Sloan. The speed and accuracy of her turns are outstanding. There’s
a tiny bit more tap from the chorus girls during rehearsals.
Oklahoma! (1955) - There’s a nice
little dance from Gene Nelson and some of the cast at the station finishing with Gene jumping onto his horse from a moving
On The Town (1949) - This is my favourite
film. It has comedy, great songs, fabulous dancing and a brilliant cast. The first tap number is ‘Pre-Historic Man’
which features Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett and Ann Miller. Later Gene and Vera-Ellen perform a
lovely duet to ‘Main Street’.
Orchestra Wives (1942) - Five minutes from the end of the film The Nicholas Brothers perform ‘I’ve Got A Gal In Kalamazoo’.
Lovely music throughout from Glenn Miller and His Band.