Flirtation Walk (1934): Frank Borzage’s Oscar-Nominated Musical Movie

As a feature that’s part of Warner’s cycle of early Depression era musicals, which began with Forty-Second Street, Flirtation Walk, directed by Frank Borzage, is not as good a musical movie.

 

Flirtation Walk
FlirtationWalk.jpg

Theatrical release poster

 

Again pairing Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, the slender tale, scripted by Delmer Daves and Lou Edelman, revolves around a West Point cadet who falls in love with the daughter of his general, who sends her away before their affair can blossom.

 

Overseeing the choreography, Bobby Connolly is not Busby Berkeley, and thus the musical numbers are not as exciting.  But the leads exude naiveté and charm, making the film more enjoyable to watch.

 

You can spot the very young Tyrone Power as an extra.

 

Frank Borzage had previously won the Best Director Oscars for “Seventh Heaven” (1927), a Janet Gaynor star vehicle, and “Bad Girls.” Co-writer Delmer Daves became a director, best known for his Westerns (“Broken Arrows,” “3:10 to Yuma”) and melodramas (“A Summer Place,” “Parrish”).

 
Oscar Nominations: 2

 

Picture, produced by Jack L. Warner, Hal Wallis, and Robert Lord

Sound Recording: Nathan Levinson

 

Oscar Context

 

“Flirtation Walk” competed for the Best Picture with nine other films: “The Barretts of Wimpole Street,” “Cleopatra,” “The Gay Divorcee,” “Here Comes the Navy,” “The House of Rothschild,” “Imitation of Life,” “It Happened One Night,” “One Night of Love,” “The Thin Man,” “Viva Villa!” and “The White Parade.”

 

“It Happened One Night” swept most of the Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Claudette Colbert.  The sound award went to the operetta “One Night of Love.”

The film’s commercial success motivated Warner studio to combine the talents of Powell, Keeler, Alexander and Arledge again with Borzage and Daves under similar plot and character in Shipmates Forever, a film about the U.S. Naval Academy, the following year.

Note:

If you want to know more about the Oscars, please read my book:

 

Credits: 

Directed by Frank Borzage
Produced by Robert Lord
Written by Delmer Daves, Lou Edelman (Original Story)
Music by Allie Wrubel, Mort Dixon
Cinematography Sol Polito, George Barnes
Edited by William Holmes, William Phelan (Assistant Editor)

Production company: First National Productions Corporation

Distributed by First National Picture, Incorporated
The Vitaphone Corporation

Release date: November 28, 1934

Running time: 97 minutes
Budget $479,000
Box office $1,533,000