Stormy Weather (1943)
Director: Andrew L. Stone
Screenplay: Jerry Horwin, Seymour B. Robinson (story), Frederick J. Jackson, H.S. Kraft (adaptation)
Stars: Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra, Fats Waller, The Nicholas Brothers, Dooley Wilson, and Matthew ‘Stymie’ Beard.
Tagline: If you like good singing, dancing and fun you are sure to get your money’s worth from this picture! We heartily recommend it as a cure for “the blues.”
Through a series of flashbacks Bill Williamson (Robinson) tells the story of his life from his return from fighting in World War I to being a respected performer. He tells of the struggle to get started and all of the ups and downs along the way… and of meeting the love of his life, the talented performer Selina Rogers (Horne).
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)
Bill Williamson’s story is the fictionalized account of Bill Robinson’s life. The character played by Lena Horne was created for the movie. Although it is Bill Robinson’s story, Lena Horne got top billing.
The flashback aspect of Bill talking to some children and then fading to scenes he’s describing took me out of the story and reminded me each time, we’re watching a movie.
My favorite scenes (other than the performances) occur early in the film when Bill and his buddy, Gabe (Wilson) are just back in the states from the war. Gabe is broke, but trying to impress a girl and things keep getting worse and worse as he convinced her money is no object and she believes him!
As to the performances, they are the reason to watch the film. Performers include Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra, Fats Waller (in his final film; Waller died at the age of 39, before the year was out), The Nicholas Brothers, Dooley Wilson and Cab Calloway.
Stormy Weather (1943) rates 3 of 5 stars.