Rosalie (1937): Van Dyke’s Musical with Songs by Cole Porter, Starring Eleanor Power and Nelson Eddy

Adapted to the screen from the 1928 stage musical of the same name, W. S. Van Dyke’s lavish musical extravaganza, Rosalie, contains some of the most spectacular dance sequences in Hollywood’s history.

Nelson Eddy plays Dick Thorpe, a football star for the Army, and Eleanor Powell is Rosalie, a Vassar college student who is also a princess (Princess Rosalie of Romanza) in disguise.

Attracted to each other, they plan to meet in in Europe. When Dick flies into her country, he is greeted as a hero by the king (Frank Morgan) and told that Rosalie is engaged to Prince Paul (Tom Rutherford), who is in love with another femme, Brenda. The king and his family are forced to leave their troubled country, and Dick and Rosalie are finally reunited at West Point.

Powell was MGM’s top tap dancer at the time, and the film was specifically designed to allow her showcase musical numbers, one of which is the title number, in which Powell danced on top of a giant drum, one of the Hollywood’s biggest musical sequences ever filmed.  Marjorie Land dubbed Powell’s singing voice for Powell.

Frank Morgan reprised his Broadway role as King Fredrick.

Also appearing in the film were Ray Bolger (Bill Delroy), Edna May Oliver (the queen), Ilona Massey (Brenda), Tom Rutherford (Prince Paul), and Reginald Owen (Chancellor).

Songs included “Who Knows?” “I’ve A Strange New Rhythm in My Heart,” “Rosalie,” “In the Still of the Night,” and “Spring Love is in the Air.”

Art director Cedric Gibbons’ enormous sets are impressive.

Release date: December 22, 1937.

Running time: 122 minutes.