Review: ‘Broadway Melody of 1938’

Much better than its predecessor of 1936, and not far behind the original 1929 Broadway Melody.

Much better than its predecessor of 1936, and not far behind the original 1929 Broadway Melody.

No use getting into the details until Sophie Tucker and Judy Garland are disposed of. Former is somewhere past 40, but when she walks on the screen something happens. Then she steps back and pushes Garland, still in her teens, into the camera foreground. Young Garland gives them ‘Everybody sing’, with a letter to the homefolks.

Each does numbers solo later on. Judy sings a plaint to Clark Gable’s photograph which is close to great screen acting. Then, to top it off, Soph does ‘Your Broadway and My Broadway’, with lyrics which bring in the great names of the past generation.

Most of the rest is just filler-in between the Tucker and the Garland numbers. There is a lot of plot [by Jack McGowan and Sid Silvers] about a racehorse which is owned by Eleanor Powell, and a Broadway musical show which Robert Taylor is trying to produce on a short bankroll.

Buddy Ebsen handles some first-class comedy bits on his own in addition to his eccentric dancing.

Music and lyrics by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed are first rate.

Broadway Melody of 1938

Production

M-G-M. Director Roy Del Ruth; Producer Jack Cummings; Screenplay Jack McGowan; Camera William Daniels; Editor Blanche Sewell; Music George Stoll (dir.)

Crew

(B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1937. Running time: 115 MIN.

With

Robert Taylor Eleanor Powell George Murphy Binnie Barnes Judy Garland Sophie Tucker
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