Stormy Weather (1943)
The film, based on the life of its star, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, is notable historically for showcasing the talent of its black cast in a time when they were rarely given opportunities. My favorite sequence, one that Fred Astaire called, “the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen,” stars the Nicholas Brothers (Fayard and Harold) along with the charismatic Cab Calloway. What amazing performers. Fayard and Harold jump from table to table, landing on one leg, so gracefully that the table doesn’t even shake. They leap a yard in the air, and land doing a perfect split, then bounce back up seamlessly. There have been better musical numbers from a creative standpoint, but I don’t know that there ever has been or will be a more athletic showcase.