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Film / Stormy Weather

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"Stormy Weather...since my man and I ain't together."
From The Golden Age of Hollywood, comes a 20th Century Fox film directed by Andrew Stone vaguely based on tap-dancing legend, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

Stormy Weather (1943) follows the life and times of Bill Williamson (Bill Robinson), a dancer looking to make it big, and his relationship with beautiful singer, Selina Rogers (Lena Horne).

Thin on plot, but a complete orgy of the greatest black performers (greatest performers, full stop) of the 30s and 40s. It has loads of classic musical numbers, swinging jazz, and great tap-dance performances.

As of 2001, this film was put in the National Film Registry.


Don’t Know Why There’s No Tropes Up in the Sky:

  • Blackface: Of the black minstrel kind.
  • Break Up Song: “Stormy Weather” is a classic one.
  • The Cameo: Cab Calloway! The Nicholas Brothers! Fats Waller! Ada Brown!
  • Career Versus Man: Bill wants to build a dream home for Selina and for her to quit her singing career and start a family with him. She decides not to. By the end, Selina changes her mind and decides to settle down with Bill.
  • Dream Ballet: During the “Stormy Weather” number.
  • Exact Words: Chick is intensely jealous of Bill but puts him in the show at Selina's insistence. Selina extracts a promise from Chick to put Bill "at the very top" of the show. Cut to the next scene, when he's an extra, in a perch at the very top of the set.
  • Expy: Robinson plays one Bill Williamson, who hit it big in show business.
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  • Framing Device: Bill tells reminisces to his neighbour’s kids and most of the story is told in flashbacks.
  • Gray Rain of Depression: What the song "Stormy Weather" is about.
  • Jerkass: Selina's boss.
  • Jive Turkey: Cab totally confuses Bill with some “hep” talk, and it is awesome.
  • Jukebox Musical: A lot of popular music from the 30s and 40s are used.
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: Cab invites Bill to do a routine for his show that's entertaining soldiers before going off to WWII.
  • Let's Duet: The ending musical number is about a nervous Bill unable to knock on a lover’s door, but he ends up singing with her anyways.
  • Love Theme: An orchestral reprise of "Stormy Weather" plays during Bill and Selina’s break up.
  • May–December Romance: Bill is a lot older than Selina.
  • Mock Millionaire: Bill’s friend, the shoe shiner, pretends to be a very giving millionaire in order to stop some showgirls from striking.
  • The Musical: Not a lot of story, really, but a hell of a lot of musical numbers.
  • Romantic False Lead: Chick, the leader of Selina's theater troupe, and Bill's rival for her hand. He's an obvious Jerkass who never stands a chance.
  • Show Within a Show: Too many to count. Bill upstages one because of a Jerkass boss who won't let him show off his talented tap-dancing.
  • Titled After the Song: The movie's title is taken from the 1933 Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler song.

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