Broadway Melody was inspired by the scene where Kathy Sheldon (Debbie Reynolds) sings Dream of You towards the beginning of the movie, right after she meets Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly).
I have a few tried and true movies that I put on when I am in a creative slump. Some I watch for specific time periods, others I watch for the visual impact they give. You'll notice quite a few are modern films set in a different era. I find it helps to have the color to reference, but I do often watch black and white films and documentaries.
I thought it might be fun to start a list, plus add more titles as people comment. Here we go:
An American in Paris
The Cat's Meow
Down With Love
The Great Gatsby
It (with Clara Bow)
Kiss Me Kate
Marie Antoinette (directed by Sophia Coppola)
The Notorious Bettie Page
On the Town
Pretty in Pink
Singin' in the Rain
Some Like It Hot
Of course, pictures and screen shots help too. One of the best websites I have found for this is The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes. Not only do they provide decent pictures, they also give links for costume studies and exhibits.
So, there is the preliminary list of my creative inspiration films. I'm sure I left a few out. I can't wait to hear about more from you!