Best Music Movies of 1940
Broadway Melody of 1940
Johnny Brett and King Shaw are an unsuccessful dance team in New York. A producer discovers Brett as the new partner for Clare Bennett, but Brett, who thinks he is one of the people they lent money to, gives him the name of his partner.
City for Conquest
The heartbreaking but hopeful tale of Danny Kenny and Peggy Nash, two sweethearts who meet and struggle through their impoverished lives in New York City. When Peggy, hoping for something better in life for both of them, breaks off her engagement to Danny, he sets out to be a championship boxer, while she becomes a dancer paired with a sleazy partner. Will tragedy reunite the former lovers?
Road to Singapore
Two playboys try to forget previous romances in Singapore - until they meet Dorothy Lamour...
Strike Up the Band
Jimmy and Mary get a group of kids together to play in a school orchestra. A huge contest between schools is coming up and they have a hard time raising money to go to Chicago for the contest.
It All Came True
After crooked nightclub owner Chips Maguire murders a police informant, he blackmails his piano player to allow him to stay at his eccentric mother's boarding house.
La Conga Nights
In this comedy, actor Hugh Herbert plays six different roles. Only one of the roles is a man. The story centers around a dizzy music lover, who has grown rich through real estate deals. Also figuring in the story are a cab driver/performer, and a down-on-her-luck, aspiring singer. They meet when she hails his cab as she skips out on her former boarding house because she cannot pay rent.
Down Argentine Way
The story—in which an American heiress on holiday in South America falls in love with an Argentine horse breeder against the wishes of their families—takes a backseat to the spectacular location shooting and parade of extravagant musical numbers, which include the larger-than-life Carmen Miranda singing the hit “South American Way” and a showstopping dance routine by the always amazing Nicholas Brothers.
Rhythm on the River
Popular songwriter Oliver Courtney has been getting by for years using one ghost writer for his music and another for his lyrics. When both writers meet at an inn, they fall in love and then try to sell their songs under their own name. The problem is every song publisher thinks they're copying Courtney's style.
One Night in the Tropics
Jim "Lucky" Moore, an insurance salesman, comes up with a novel policy for his friend, Steve: a 'love insurance policy', that will pay out $1-million if Steve does not marry his fiancée, Cynthia. The upcoming marriage is jeopardized by Steve's ex-girlfriend, Mickey, and Cynthia's disapproving Aunt Kitty. The policy is underwritten by a nightclub owner, Roscoe, who sends two enforcers - Abbott and Costello - to ensure that the wedding occurs as planned.
Grand Ole Opry
Aided by musicians at the Grand Ole Opry, a small-town mayor in the Ozarks takes on a group of crooked politicians.
In this light and lovely romantic musical, a Hungarian woman attends a Viennese fair and buys a card from a gypsy fortune teller. It says that she will meet someone important and is destined for a happy marriage. Afterward she gets a job as a baker's assistant. She then meets a handsome army drummer who secretly dreams of becoming a famous composer and conductor. Unfortunately the military forbids the young corporal to create his own music. But then Ilonka secretly sends one of the drummer's waltzes to the Austrian Emperor with his weekly order of pastries. Her act paves the way toward the tuneful and joyous fulfillment of the gypsy's prediction.
If I Forget You
Judy Garland sings the title song, a tribute to Will Rogers.
Swinging the Lambeth Walk
Lye edited together “swing” versions of the popular Lambeth Walk (including Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stephane Grapelli on violin), combining them with a particularly diverse range of direct film images, scratched as well as painted. He was particularly pleased with a final guitar solo (with a vibrating horizontal line) and double bass solo (with a stomping vertical line). For this film Lye did not have to include any advertising slogans; friends at the Tourist and Industrial Development Association, shocked to learn that Lye and his family had become destitute, arranged for TIDA to sponsor the film – to the horror of government bureaucrats who could not understand why a popular dance was being treated as a tourist attraction. - Harvard Film Archive
It's midnight in a graveyard. The principal characters are spooks, ghosts, bats, bells, and, at the end, the sun. As midnight strikes, 12 spooks appear, then two ghosts. They move to the music's rhythm. Against the black night, they are blue and yellow. Bats appear as does a xylophone of bones. Mist rises, spooks swirl. A bell tolls. The sky turns light blue, the ghosts' dance slows. Then black night returns bringing intimations of frenzy. Bones play snare drums; spooks peek out of square graves. Scary faces appear. Frenetic movement takes over. A rooster crows and all return to earth as the sun's light appears.
I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now
In this low-budget musical, two sets of politically ambitious parents attempt to pair up their youngsters who unfortunately despise each other and only pretend to like each other to please their parents. On the nights they are to go out, they sneak out with their respective true loves. It all works well until the unwilling couple find themselves falling in love for real. songs include: "I'm Nobody's Sweetheart Now", and "Got Romance".
Alice Faye plays the title role in this 1940 film biography of the early-20th-century stage star.
It's a Date
An aspiring actress is offered the lead in a major new play, but discovers that her mother, a more seasoned performer, expects the same part. The situation is further complicated when they both become involved with the same man.
The Boys from Syracuse
The action takes place in Ephesus in ancient Asia Minor, and the concerns The efforts of two boys from Syracuse, Anthipholus and his servant Dromio, to find their long-lost twins who, for reason of plot confusion, are also named Anthipholus and Dromio. Complications arise when the wife of the Ephesians, Adriana and her servant Luce, mistake the two strangers for their husband, though the couples eventually get sorted out after Adriana's sister Luciana and the Syracuse Antipholus admit their love
No, No, Nanette
Perky young Nanette attempts to save the marriage of her uncle and aunt by untangling Uncle Jimmy from several innocent but ensnaring flirtations. Attempting one such unentanglement, Nanette enlists the help of theatrical producer Bill Trainor, who promptly falls in love with her. The same thing happens when artist Tom Gillespie is called on for help. But soon Uncle Jimmy's flirtations become too numerous, and Nanette's romances with Tom and Bill run into trouble. Will Uncle Jimmy's marriage survive, and will Nanette find happiness with Tom, Bill, or somebody else?
My Love Came Back
Amelia is a gifted violinist who is in danger of quitting the Brissac Academy of Music. Julius arranges to have a scholarship given to her through his employee Tony so that Julius can escort Amelia to every musical event in the city. The trouble begins when he cannot meet her one night and Tony goes in his place. Tony believes that Julius and Amelia are a couple and then son Paul thinks that Tony and Amelia are a couple as he is sending her the money. The worst part is that Amelia might leave classical music for swing music with classmates Dusty, Joy and the band.
Too Many Girls
Mr. Casey's daughter, Connie, wants to go to Pottawatomie College and without her knowledge, he sends four football players as her bodyguards. The college is in financial trouble and her bodyguards use their salary to help the college. The football players join the college team, and the team becomes one of the best. One of the football players, Clint, falls in love with Connie, but when she discovers he is her bodyguard, she decides to go back East. The bodyguards follow her, leaving the team in the lurch.
Frances Carroll & 'The Coquettes'
Bandleader Frances Carroll leads The Coquettes, an all-female band, in several swing tunes.
Tin Pan Alley
Songwriters Calhoun and Harrigan get Katie and Lily Blane to introduce a new one. Lily goes to England, and Katy joins her after the boys give a new song to Nora Bayes. All are reunited when the boys, now in the army, show up in England.
Alice in Movieland
In a U.S. town that could be anywhere, 18-year-old Alice Purdee wins a free trip to Hollywood. With the assistance of a cheerful porter, she takes the night train and dreams about her arrival. Instead of instant success, she meets disappointment after disappointment, and she needs the unexpected encouragement of her grandmother and an aging, former star whom she meets at a talent night. Finally, she gets a call to be an extra, and she's so hopeful that the regulars decide to make a fool of her. Is this the end of Alice's dream? Not if the porter has anything to say about it.
In order to avoid an arranged marriage with a man she doesn't love, Sarah Millick runs off to Vienna with her music teacher, Carl Linden, whom she does love. They are married. In Vienna, they struggle to make a living by making music. Carl writes an operetta and tries to get it produced. They are helped along by Viennese Baron, but his intentions are not honorable. He kills Carl in a sword fight. A big producer does put on the operetta, with Sari in the lead -- but without her husband, it is a bittersweet victory.
One for the Book
In this entertaining short, famous literary figures step out of the pages of books after dark.
Double or Nothing
In this Broadway Brevities short, a stunt double is hit on the head and imagines himself in a series of movie scenes with doubles for various stars.
Little Nellie Kelly
Nellie Kelly, the daughter of Irish immigrants, patches up differences between her father and maternal grandfather while rising to the top on Broadway.
Music in My Heart
A young woman engaged to a millionaire falls for the understudy in a Broadway musical.
Hit Parade of 1941
In this musical, the second entry in a five-film series, a thrift shop owner sells his business and buys a small time radio station. He begins looking for sponsors. He finds one with a department store owner who will only lend him the money if he will allow his daughter, an aspiring tap-dancer and singer, to perform on the air. This is unfortunate as she is tone-deaf. To compensate, the owner hires a real singer to dub the daughter's voice. The singer and the owner's nephew fall in love and mayhem ensues. Songs include: the Oscar nominated "Who Am I?," "Swing Low Sweet Rhythm," "In The Cool of the Evening," "Make Yourself at Home," "The Swap Shop Song," "The Trading Post," "Sally," "Ramona," "Sweet Sue," "Dinah," "Margie," and "Mary Lou."
Melody and Moonlight
Jane Frazee made her starring film debut in the Republic B-plus musical Melody and Moonlight. The plot is motivated by the show-biz aspirations of bellboy Danny O'Brien (Johnny Downs). With the help of a wealthy chiropodist (Jerry Colonna), O'Brien not only gets to star on a big-time radio show, but also sprinkles stardust upon his sweetheart Kay Barnett (Jane Frazee)-who, unbeknownst to everyone but the audience, is the daughter of the show's sponsor.
Dancing on a Dime
Director Ted Brooks and comedians Jack Norcross, Dandy Joslyn and Phil Miller are part of a troupe of promising young players rehearsing for a WPA show at the Garrick Theater in New York and are stunned when the government withdraws their funding on the day of the show's dress rehearsal. Destitute, the troupe plans to return home when Mac, the stage doorman, offers to allow four of the men, Phil, Dandy, Jack and Ted, to use the theater for a boardinghouse. After accepting Mac's offer, the men improvise bedrooms out of the set pieces and meet amateur actress Lorie Fenton from Cleveland, who is eager to audition for them. When the men learn she recently received a small inheritance, they allow her to audition, hoping she will back the show.
A gang of spies held up in a haunted castle gives this team of celebrated British wireless comedians plenty of scope for laughs.
Laugh It Off
As WWII begins, vaudeville entertainer Tommy Towers is called up to serve. He arranges a job for his girlfriend at the local pub. To keep moral up, his commanding officer orders him to perform for the troops.
The Dipsy Doodler
A concert film
A Little Bit of Heaven
A child from the New York tenements sings on a radio quiz show and is eventually hired to a big-bucks contract, which allows her and her family to move into a posh apartment, with all the usual problems that accompany sudden wealth.
Tom Turkey and His Harmonica Humdingers
Tom Turkey and his friends play their harmonicas so enthusiastically that they nearly destroy the general store.
Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride
Gene inherits a meat-packing plant, then faces stiff competition from snooty Ann Randolph, rival owner determined to do him in.
Ozzie Nelson & His Orchestra
Ozzie and his orchestra play a few tunes.
Ma, He's Making Eyes at Me!
In this musical, a sharp witted press agent teams up with an unemployed chorine and dubs her "Miss Manhattan" to promote a cheap line of clothing. To escort her about town, the agent invents a "Mr. Manhattan." He then has them fake a marriage. When he realizes that he is in love with his creation, the agent promptly fires "Mr. M" and takes her to the altar personally. Songs include: "Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me," "Unfair To Love," and "A Lemon In The Garden Of Love."
Gene Autry and sidekick Frog Millhouse depart Madison Square Garden and NYC heading west for home in their car and a horse trailer carrying Gene's horse, Champion. They discover that Ronnie Willoughby, a young boy just off the boat from school in England, has hitched a ride, thinking that Gene and Frog were sent by his father to meet him. Ronnie thinks his father is a big rancher in the west and doesn't know that his father, Alfred Willoughby, is serving time in San Quentin prison because of a frame-up by the officials of a packing company. To keep the father from testifying against them, the packing company officials, Carter, Jenkins and Martin, have arranged for the boy to be kidnapped. Along the way a runaway bride, Joyce Halloway, and her young sister Patsy join the troupe.
A Hollywood studio goofs and signs the wrong girl--a hillbilly from the Ozarks--to a movie contract. Comedy.
The Wildcat of Tucson
When his brother Dave is put in jail, Bill Hickok returns to help him. Dave has been charged with attempted murder when the other man drew first. Judge Barlow put him there and Bill gets the Judge to confess. Bill learns that Rance McKee is behind all the trouble and he forces the Judge into the decisions he wants. So Bill heads out by himself to face McKee in the showdown.
Riders of Pasco Basin
Kirby and Evans are pulling off an irrigation project swindle and newspaper editor Scott realizes it and sends for Lee. Lee agrees with Scott and forms a vigilante group to fight the Sheriff and his deputies brought in by Kirby. But a dying Uncle Dan sets the Sheriff straight and this brings the two sides together for the big shootout.
Brad Henderson arrives in Star City just in time to witness three men rob a bank of $30,000 and kill a teller. Charged for the crime and jailed, Brad realizes he must escape and track down the real killers since the only one who can prove his innocence is his friend, Sheriff Bill Gregory, who has been shot and will not soon regain consciousness. Chasing down the robbers one by one, he eventually discovers the identity of the gang's ringleader.
Son of Roaring Dan
In this exciting western, Roaring Dan is the meanest old cuss around. He and his "son" are constantly bickering. But things are not as they seem as the young man is only pretending to be Dan's son so they can find the killers of the young man's real father. Among the guilty are two women.
A movie company making a film about a famous sheriff hires his grandson as a stand-in for the lead.
A country orphanage puts on a show with some musicians to save their 4H club from being shut down by greedy politicians.
Pals of the Silver Sage
IMDb: Six-year-old Sugar Grey (Sugar Dawn) has inherited a ranch, which she will lose to her cousin Jeff Grey (Carleton Young) if a certain number of cattle aren't delivered on time. Jeff has been working with Vic Insley (Glenn Strange) to steal Sugar's cattle so he can obtain the ranch. Banker Jim Coleman (Hal Price), ranch overseer against Jeff's wishes, hires Tex Wright (Tex Ritter) and Slim Hunkafeller (Slim Andrews)) as cowhands on Sugar's ranch. Tex and Slim work nights changing Insley's brand on the rustled cattle from Sugar's herd to yet another brand. Tex then bribes the rustlers to help him herd the cattle to the loading pens. Jeff convinces the Sheriff (Warner Richmond) that Tex is a rustler. Tex eludes the posse and Slim and his men surround the rustlers.