STORMY WEATHER
1943, 20th Century Fox, 78 min, USA, Dir: Andrew L. Stone

The life of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson provided loose inspiration for this classic musical, and he stars as a WWI vet who hopes to make it big as a dancer and win the heart of singer Selina Rogers (Lena Horne). Selected for preservation in the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry, this dazzling revue was among the first major studio features with a predominantly African-American cast, and showcases iconic performances by such stars as Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and the Nicholas Brothers, whose “Jumpin’ Jive” sequence was once described by Fred Astaire as the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen.


HIT THE DECK
1929, Warner Bros., 103 min, USA, Dir: Luther Reed

This adaptation of the popular Broadway musical was one of the most expensive films of its day, and included a couple of Technicolor sequences. Jack Oakie stars as Bilge, a sailor who crosses paths with the lovely Looloo (Polly Walker) while he’s on shore leave. One of Oakie’s favorite films, HIT THE DECK was considered lost for decades before a 35mm print surfaced in the Warner Bros. vault.


I’M NO ANGEL
1933, Universal, 87 min, USA, Dir: Wesley Ruggles

Singing, dancing lion tamer Mae West goes from Big Bill Barton’s Wonder Show to the bright lights of the Big Apple in this saucy romantic comedy. Wealthy Cary Grant is one of the men smitten with West, until her past threatens their engagement. But Mae isn’t one to take “no” for an answer! The blonde sex symbol penned the dialogue to this pre-Code hit – arguably her best - enshrining such lines as “It's not the men in your life that count, it's the life in your men” in movie immortality.


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