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BlueMoods

Jimmy Stewart Musicals?

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I love James Stewart, but I'm sorry...I'm having trouble with his hair in this one. Give him a cowlick and he's a grown up Alfalfa. :D

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Jimmy Stewart will forever be one of my favorite actors in some of my favorite films; however, every time I see "Born to Dance" I cringe a little. Has anyone ever seen an interview with his take on these very few singing parts? What do y'all think? Am I being too picky?

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If I remember it right he also cringed at his singing ability. I can't recall a specific quote but I'm sure he probably poked fun at himself during one of his visits to Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show.

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I'm going to come right out and say it, though ... Buddy Ebsen steals every scene he's in in this film. Not only hilarious, but his dancing is sublime. Not gonna lie, I think I've just developed a bit of an old-timey crush on young Jed Clampett. :D

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1 minute ago, AndPeggy said:

I'm going to come right out and say it, though ... Buddy Ebsen steals every scene he's in in this film. Not only hilarious, but his dancing is sublime. Not gonna lie, I think I've just developed a bit of an old-timey crush on young Jed Clampett. :D

I was just headed here to say he looks so cute in this scene where he's dancing to "So Easy to Love." He reminds me a little of Neil Patrick Harris.

I love Jimmy in this too. I think I fell in love with him in The Glenn Miller Story.

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I'm glad I wasn't the only one who cringed when he started singing. He is such a talented actor unfortunately he just doesn't have that Broadway voice. ?

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I watched an interview with James Stewart as well, I think it might have been Johnny Carson.  He said that when he first came to Hollywood and MGM signed him to a contract, they were having trouble finding his niche.  He appeared in a variety of different types of films, including the second Thin Man film, After the Thin Man, where he is the villain (!), and the musical, Born to Dance.  Even Stewart said that he wasn't much of a singer and after seeing Born to Dance, he really didn't think he was a singer.  Fortunately, MGM didn't keep casting him in musicals.  I am reading: Hank and Jim: The Fifty Year Friendship of Henry Fonda and James Stewart, and it says that Stewart was a big fan of singing corny songs like "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" while accompanying himself on piano.  In fact, he performs this song as a surprise for major fan Carol Burnett on the last episode of The Carol Burnett Show.  Carol's reaction is the best part, but Stewart's song is pretty funny too. 

 

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No, Jimmy's singing voice is a little hard to take in this film, but he's so adorable, that makes up for it!  I, too, saw him a number of times on Carson's show, and I do remember him one time playing the piano and singing a cowboy song, sort of speaking it more than singing, but he was so charming.

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Watching James Stewart sing is like seeing Clark Gable singing in Idiot's Delight.  I'm so glad that they primarily stuck to drama and comedies.

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Glad to know it wasn’t just me! I had never seen this movie so seeing him sing and dance in this film was such a surprise to me! I believe he poked a little fun of the performance in That’s Entertainment.

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1 hour ago, starryeyzze said:

Watching James Stewart sing is like seeing Clark Gable singing in Idiot's Delight.  I'm they glad they primarily stuck to drama and comedies.

Clark Gable singing in Idiot's Delight was a hoot!  I'm also glad he stuck to drama, but what a gift to the universe that was.  

As for Jimmy, his singing is most unfortunate, but if he sang to me I would not complain one bit!

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24 minutes ago, Christy_S said:

Clark Gable singing in Idiot's Delight was a hoot!  I'm also glad he stuck to drama, but what a gift to the universe that was.  

As for Jimmy, his singing is most unfortunate, but if he sang to me I would not complain one bit!

Clark Gable was the best part of that film. 

I recommend that everyone watch “Thank Your Lucky Stars” if you want to see actors sing and dance who don’t normally do so. My boy, Errol Flynn is the highlight, in my opinion. 

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I think James Stewart's singing was sweet because it wasn't robust or professional sounding. I also remember him "crooning" to Katherine Hepburn in "Philadelphia Story" with that same, sweet voice which was in such direct contrast to his big onscreen presence. It just made you smile!

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I'm watching "Born to Dance" and knew that Jimmy Stewart was one of the lead characters, but since starting the Mad About Musicals course, I guess Im a little surprised he is in this.  Did he do other musicals?  He certainly was talented!  Also, love Buddy Epson in this movie.  

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He also appears in Rose Marie, Ziegfeld Girl, and a few other less commercially successful ones such as Pot O' Gold. He would often joke about how terrible at singing he was, but back in his early contract days MGM was probably still figuring out what to do with him as an actor, thus casting him in Born to Dance on the heels of Rose Marie. Also not to miss is The Glenn Miller Story - not really a musical, but Jimmy's performance as big band leader Glenn Miller is a classic.

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I just saw that in Born to Dance, Eleanor Powell's singing was dubbed but Jimmy Stewart's wasn't.

Interesting...

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Hey, Don't go dissin' my Jimmy.  James Stewart is my all around favorite.  And JaneMs is right, it was sweet, and I think his singing voice was perfectly suited for the character, the song and the mood.  I remember his rather sheepish voice over comments that accompanied that clip in "That's Entertainment", he said something like: "They figured the song was so good, that even my singing wouldn't hurt it."  

And speaking of  "That's Entertainment", here's something I posted last night:  One of the saddest things I ever heard was Frank Sinatra's voice over commentary during the "Begin the Beguine" (from "Broadway Melody of 1940) segment in "That's Entertainment"...You can wait around for ever but you'll never see the likes of this again. (or words to that affect).  Sad but true.  Such dedication to craft.  The magnificent music (Cole Porter) and the sheer joy of watching two gifted dancers, Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire, all captured on film to be celebrated by the likes of us decades later.

And God, I loved that set, the shiny bakelite floors, reflecting their awesome tapping feet!

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Born to Dance — with songs & music by Cole Porter, anyone could sing this material and be successful. Was Stewart a great singer? No, not by a long shot, but his overall performance in this movie seemed to be more than adequate in fitting the character he plays. Eleanor Powell is the big star, the main reason the film was made, and the rest of the cast is there supporting her performance. She’s a great dancer, Porter’s songs and music are used effectively to support the story, and everything moves toward an enthusiastic ending spotlighting Powell. I was a little surprised that Porter’s songs, known I believe primarily for uniting complex lyrics with wonderful music, were used sans-lyrics in a number of places very effectively. I didn’t notice who specifically scored the film, but he deserves plenty of credit for the film’s success. 

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I guess I should have waiting to post that questions considering the module for today (Thursday) said the movie studios would have actors who weren't really singers or dancers!  Ha!  I love Jimmy Stewart.  Last Christmas they showed It's a Wonderful Life on the big screen on Christmas Eve.  It was so fun to see it in a theatre instead of on my DVD at home.  One 4 people showed up.  My husband, daughter, me and one other person was there.  Kind of sad. I thought it might sell out!  

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I've always loved Jimmy Stewart but had never seen him in a musical before I watched Born to Dance.  He was very good and had a much better voice than I would have thought!  I enjoyed the film quite a lot!  I too enjoyed seeing Buddy Ebsen in this..and also in Broadway Melody of 1936.  Of course I knew he was a singer/dancer and had been in the Wizard of Oz until his allergy to the metallic paint derailed that...but I knew him best of course as Jed Clampitt and Barnaby Jones.  What a long career he had!

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I don't think Fred Astaire had that great of a voice, he just sang with confidence.  And poor Ruby Keeler was forced to croak out a song.   Did Warner's ever dub their actors' singing back then?  Or did RKO?   It was luck of the draw Jimmy Stewart was at a studio where singing was more of a big deal.   

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