Born to Dance (1936): Musical, Starring Eleanor Powell and Jimmy Stewart Singing Cole Porter

Roy Del Ruth directed Born to Dance, a musical film starring. starring Eleanor Powell and James Stewart, with score composed by Cole Porter.

While on leave, sailor Ted Barker (James Stewart) meets and falls in love with Nora Paige (Eleanor Powell) at the Lonely Hearts Club, which is owned by Jenny Saks (Una Merkel), the wife of fellow sailor Gunny Saks (Sid Silvers).

Ted later meets Broadway star Lucy James (Virginia Bruce) on top of a battleship while she’s on a publicity tour. When her Pekingese falls overboard, Ted rescues it, and Lucy falls in love with him. Though Ted has a date with Nora, he is ordered by captain Dingby (Raymond Walburn) to meet Lucy in a nightclub.

Nora, who lives with Gunny & Jenny and their daughter Sally (Juanita Quigley), aspires to become a Broadway dancer. However, her ambition is in jeopardy when she inadvertently comes between Lucy and her boss McKay (Alan Dinehart). Nora distances herself from Ted after seeing photos of him and Lucy in the newspaper.

Lucy convinces McKay to stop the press campaign, threatening to leave the production if any more photos or articles about her and Ted are published. Nora, Lucy’s understudy, gets fired suddenly after McKay tells her to perform a dance that Lucy considers undanceable.

Ted knows exactly what to do after he’s told the whole story.

Oscar Nominations: 2

Song: “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” music and lyrics by Cole Porter
Dance Direction: Dave Gould
Oscar Awards: None
 
Oscar Context
The winners of the Song Oscar were Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields for their popular tune “The Way You Look Tonight,” from the Astaire-Rogers musical “Swing Time.”
The recipient of the Dance Direction Oscar was Seymour Felix for staging “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” from the musical biopic “The Great Ziegfeld,” which also won Best Picture.
 
Despite several nominations, Cole Porter had never won a legit competitive Oscar.

Cast
Eleanor Powell as Nora Paige
James Stewart as Ted Barker
Virginia Bruce as Lucy James
Una Merkel as Jenny Saks
Sid Silvers as “Gunny” Sacks
Frances Langford as “Peppy” Turner
Raymond Walburn as Captain Dingby
Alan Dinehart as McKay
Buddy Ebsen as “Mush” Tracy
Juanita Quigley as Sally Saks