Born to Dance

Released: 1936
Grade: B

Born to Dance (1936) on IMDb


A navy officer and two sailors take shore leave while their submarine is docked in New York City. During their shore leave, one of the sailors finds out his wife of 4 years doesn’t remember him. The officer meets an aspiring dancer and falls in love with her.


There isn’t much to the plot of this movie – I bet the screenplay was not very many pages. But that’s probably true of most musicals. This one has several excellent dance scenes featuring the wonderful Eleanor Powell. At this time in her career, she was considered the best female tap dancer in Hollywood. Powell is fantastic in this film and though the plot is rather thin, the movie is worth watching just to see her scenes.

Jimmy Stewart plays the naval officer who falls in love with Powell’s character. Stewart does a very good job in his role, and he even sings a bit. During production, they considered replacing Stewart’s voice with another singer, but personally, I’m glad they let Stewart handle his own singing.

The supporting cast is excellent, and the script is quite funny – Una Merkel has some really witty lines. She plays the character who can’t remember having been married to a sailor 4 years earlier.

All of that being said, this is an enjoyable musical and one that I’ve seen several times already. Just turn your brain off and enjoy it.

Of Note

During one scene in this film, Jimmy Stewart’s character has to pay for dinner and drinks at a restaurant. The total comes out to be almost $12, which in 2022 would have been more than $250.