1943, Stormy Weather

"Stormy Weather." Dir. Andrew Stone, 20th Century Fox, 1943.

Starring, Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, the Nicholas brothers, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller. The all-black cast perform 20 musical numbers in a short feature film.  The film presents a storyline dramatizing  Bill Bojangles struggle to win recognition for his outstanding skill as a dancer.  The songs take center stage, highlighting the 200 black musicians who were hired for the production.  William Grant Still, the most prolifiic black composer of the period, was originally given the job as musical director, but quit in a bitter dispute over the musical stereotypes (including a blackface performance) the producers insisted upon.

Critical Reception:

T.M.P. (Thomas M. Pryor). "'Stormy Weather' Negro Musical with Bill Robinson, at the Roxy," New York Times, July 22, 1943.


Frank Griffin.  "Lauds Thadeus Stevens in Attack on Film; Writer Demands Shelving of "Tennesee Johnson" in Letter to MGM Moguls; Lincoln's Successor Aided Southern Bourbons While Stevens Helped Negro, He Says, New York Amsterdam Star News, October 10, 1942, p. 13, cols, 1-2.

William Grant Still, "Willam Grant Still Quits 'Stormy Weather' Picture," California Eagle (Los Angeles), February 17, 1943, p. 2B, cols. 3-4.