Born to Dance is corking entertainment, more nearly approaching the revue type than most musical films, despite the presence of a ‘book’. Cast is youthful, sight stuff is lavish, the specialties are meritorious, and as for songs, the picture is positively filthy with them. Cole Porter included at least two hits among the seven numbers delivered.
Eleanor Powell becomes a star in her second picture. She is given an opportunity to show that she’s not just a good buck dancer, but an exceptionally versatile girl. As an actress she still has not arrived, as indicated in the few occasions when this plot calls for acting.
James Stewart’s assignment calls for a shy youth. His singing and dancing are rather painful on their own, but he’s surrounded by good people, and it’s all done in a spirit of fun. Frances Langford has a running part, but her big responsibility is the singing build-up to Powell’s finale dance and the pretentious production topper of the picture.
Buddy Ebsen has a couple of spots for his eccentric dancing and tackles the comedy, along with Sid Silvers, Una Merkel and Raymond Walburn.
It’s a combination navy-backstage story [by Jack McGowan, Sid Silvers and B.G. DeSylva], with the sailors, as usual, looking for their old girlfriends while on leave in the big town, and the understudy follows the rules by stepping into the indisposed star’s part at the last moment.
1934: Nominations: Best Song (‘I’ve Got You under My Skin’), Dance Direction (‘Swingin’ the Jinx’)