A never-completed stage musical was the source for the MGM superproduction Born to Dance. The plot is another three-sailors-on-leave affair, with Ted (James Stewart), Mush (Buddy Ebsen) and Gunny (Sid Silvers, who also co-wrote the script) romancing the eminently romanceable Nora (Eleanor Powell), Peppy (Frances Langford) and Jenny (Una Merkel). Nora aspires to become a dancing star, but her career nearly ends before it begins when she inadvertently comes between Broadway luminary Lucy James (Virginia Bruce) and her producer-lover McKay (Alan Dinehart). If anyone watching back in 1936 really cared about the plot, they probably weren't music lovers. The lovely Cole Porter score (his first written directly for the screen) includes "I've Got You Under My Skin", sung by Virginia Bruce to James Stewart, and "Easy to Love", warbled by Stewart to Eleanor Powell. Highlights include Reginald Gardiner's impersonation of a symphony-conducting traffic cop (a routine he'd previously performed on stage) and Eleanor Powell's climactic tap routine on board an art-deco battleship (a sequence later re-deployed for the climax of 1944's I Dood It).
by Hal Erickson synopsis