Born to Dance (1936) fused together the best of what MGM had to offer during the mid-'30s. With direction by Roy Del Ruth, choreography courtesy of David Gould, tunes by Cole Porter, and musical direction/supervision by Alfred Newman, plus a star-studded cast -- what was there not to like? Granted, the story of three "on-leave" servicemen had been (and would continue to be) recycled. The story centers around James Stewart (Ted Barker), Buddy Ebsen (Mush Tracy), and Sid Silvers (Gunny Saks), and their respective amours, Eleanor Powell (Nora Paige), Frances Langford (Peppy Turner), and Una Merkel (Jenny Saks). The plot takes a turn when Powell -- a wannabe dancer -- gets involved in a love triangle between Virginia Bruce (Lucy James) and Alan Dinehart (James McKay). Porter's score -- his first penned specifically for the movies -- introduced both "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Easy to Love" into the American popular music lexicon, where they remain to this day. The film became an "instant masterpiece" in every sense of the term, as audiences flocked to see it on the big screen and it went on to win an Academy Award in the Best Picture category. At the time, there were only eight cuts issued on the soundtrack spread across four separate 78-rpm platters. For the Turner Classic Movies expanded edition, the contents have been assembled using the 35-mm optical masters. Without getting overly technical, these elements ultimately netted the use of multiple microphones, allowing for a startling stereophonic mix to be created from recordings made some three decades before consumer stereo playback equipment was even available. There are also alternate and/or extended versions of "Rap Tap On Wood," "I've Got You Under My Skin," and "Easy to Love."
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer
|Born to Dance, film score|