"Vaguely based on the life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson himself, STORMY WEATHER offers the story of a WWI vet who falls in love with a singer--and under her influence goes into show business, only to find that their careers draw them in different directions. As a story, it is pretty slim stuff... but as a collection of musical turns by some of the early 1940s best black talent, it simply can't be beat.Robinson was, of course, one of the truly great dancers of his era. Made late in his career, this film doesn't really manage to capture the scope of his talents, but he remains a constant joy to watch. A very young and remarkably beautiful Lena Horne also offers several enjoyable songs, including one that she would go on to perform with increasing sophistocation and ultimately make entirely her own: the title tune "Stormy Weather." In addition to Calloway and Horne, STORMY WEATHER offers great performances by such under-filmed artists as Cab Calloway, Katherine Dunham, Fats Waller (performing his signature tune, "Ain't Misbehaving"), the brillant Nicholas Brothers, and Ada Brown, as well as the popular comic actor Dooley Wilson. Expect nothing from the story, but you won't be disappointed by this rare glimpse at some truly remarkable talents."
mediaagent | New York, New York | 06/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First thing...If this is what Harlem was like in the 40's it was jammin. First of all Lena Horne has to be the classiest woman alive (then and now). Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is great, giving just the right amount of humor and entertainment. And of course, nobody I mean NOBODY, was as bad as Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers (who Fred Astaire by the way fancied some of his tap dancing moves from - I saw it on numerous PBS specials that he was a major fan of theirs). Although it may have some stereotypical parts in it, it is wonderful to see a movie where black people were respectful to one another, classy dressers and had good times with one another.The best part of this film? In a way it is very hard for me to pinpoint...I love when Fats Waller and Ida Wells start signing "Having yourself a Ball". My grandparents used to sing it and lord knows Fats and Ida are singing the hell out if it! But the absolute BEST part has to be the finale when Cab is signing "Jumpin Jive" and the Nicholas Brothers dance on that staircase. This was a fantastic all-black hollywood musical. Thank God for video and DVD!"
You will enjoy the singing, you won't BELIEVE the dancing!
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 03/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Directed by Andrew Stone, this 1943 musical is one of the few musicals by a major studio to feature an all-black cast. The storyline is merely an excuse for all the musical numbers (and there are a LOT of them). Bill "Bojangles" Robinson plays Bill Williamson who meets lovely Selina Rogers, played by Lena Horne, just after he gets back from the First World War. Unfortunately their careers get in the way of their ever settling down together. "Stormy Weather" ends with a big all-star show hosted by Cab Calloway. Along the way Bill Robinson dances to "Rang Tang Tang" and several other songs, while Lena Horne sings "There's No Two Ways About Love," "Diga Diga Do" and the show piece title song, "Stormy Weather." Bill and Lena also do "I Can't Give you Anything But Love, Baby." Fats Waller does "Ain't Misbehavin'" and sings "That Ain't Right" (a Nat "King" Cole song) with Ada Brown. Cab Colloway conducts his "Rhythm Cocktail" and "Geechy Joe" and there is also the incredible Nichols Brothers (Fayard and Harold) dancing to "The Jumpin' Jive." "Stormy Weather" is a wonderful compilation of song and dance."
Lena Horne, one of the 20th century greats, and much more !
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 11/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This delightful film is like a revue of song and dance numbers, held together by a thin plot, which is there simply as a frame for the wonderful music and fabulous talent, notably of Lena Horne, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway, and the protagonist who has the most screen time, Bill Robinson. Among the others that are remarkable are The Nicholas Brothers and Ada Brown. There are several styles of music represented, from blues, the sultry ballads sung by Lena Horne, to scat singing and big band dance numbers. There's a priceless comedy routine where two men finish each other's sentences, and another treat is to see Katherine Dunham dance in two pieces along with her troupe; she was very popular decades ago, but sadly, not many remember her now.
The dances are staged by Clarence Robinson, and they are numerous, some corny, but all entertaining. Of the singers, Lena Horne is extraordinary. She could make a lame line of dialog sound convincing, make any song worth listening to with her mellow, lovely voice, dance with the best of them, and her sensual beauty has rarely been equaled. The songs she sings are: "There's No Two Ways About Love, Baby" "Digga Digga Doo" "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" "Stormy Weather". The legendary Fats Waller sings his "Ain't Misbehavin'", and other songs include "Rhythm Cocktail", "That Ain't Right", and "Rang Tang Tang". Directed by Andrew Stone, it has marvelous cinematography Leon Shamroy, and though not great in every aspect, it's a historical film that showcases the fantastic black talent of the mid 20th century, and as such it gets my highest rating. Total running time is 78 minutes. "
A cornucopia of legendary talent the like we'll never see ag
Alejandra Vernon | 05/06/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie contains so many memorable musical and dance and sequences that you can (and I do) rerun just a musical and dance sequences over and over. I mean where else would you find so much talent in one movie. Not to mention the greatest dance routine ever filmed bar none. The Nicolas Brothers performed a routine that defies gravity. Yet with all the acrobatics, the style for which the pair are famous for is evident for all to see. The new tap folk with all thier improvisational skills lack that kind of style see Savion Glover. But to continue the wonderful talent Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Bill Robinson, Lena Horne I mean the list just keeps getting bigger and bigger. This movie is one of my all time favorites"