42nd Street (1933)
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Movie InfoJulian Marsh, a successful Broadway director, produces a new show, in spite of his poor health. The money comes from a rich older man, who is in love with the star of the show, Dorothy Brock. But Dorothy doesn't respond to his love, because she's still in love with her old partner. On the night before the premiere, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and Peggy Sawyer, one of the chorus girls, tries to take over Dorothy's part.
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Critic Reviews for 42nd Street
This 1933 film is the best known of the Warner Brothers Depression-era musicals, though it doesn't compare in dash and extravagance to later entries in the cycle.
The liveliest and one of the most tuneful screen musical comedies that has come out of Hollywood.
Berkeley choreographs chorines and camera with mischievous dexterity.
The careful building of the eye-level proscenium that's exploded by swooping cinematic music
Of Golden Age musicals, 42nd Street is about as close to the archetype as they come.
...the film that practically invented every backstage musical cliché we know today...remains a remarkable achievement for a film over seven decades old.
42nd Street may not be the best backstage musical ever made, but it's certainly the most enjoyable and durable in appeal--find out why.
The strength of a musical is its songs, and this film had a mixed bag.
One can't say enough good things about what Busby Berkeley did for the musical.
Busby Berkeley's astonishing choreography is singularly cinematic and still astonishing.
Busby Berkeley choreography; Powell and Keeler plus all-star supporting cast. A Warner Bros. clasic musical, though campy by today's standards.
The classic backstage musical, still great
42nd Street (1933) is the classic, fast-paced, backstage movie musical - a refreshing film that changed the film musical forever and saved Warner Bros. studios from bankruptcy
The real star, though, is the master of kaleidoscopic imagery, Busby Berkeley.
Audience Reviews for 42nd Street
With jokes that are dated for today's standards and a silly, unconvincing plot that basically invented the backstage clichés, this musical is worth it only for Busby Berkeley's spectacular choreography and astonishing production numbers that could never take place on a theater stage.More
Released the same year as "Gold Diggers of 1933", "42nd Street" also features many of the same cast (Ginger Rogers, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler) and the same choreographer (Busby Berkeley, famous for his overhead shots of geometrically arranged chorus dancers). The plot too, is sort of similar. In it, we see the trials and tribulations of producing a broadway musical, from funding and casting to the opening night, and all the hair-pulling frustration that comes with it. Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) is the greener than green wannabe actress who shows up for the audition and is tricked into walking in on Billy's (Dick Powell) dressing room (also, Billy plays what is called "the juvenile lead", whatever that is). While it's a dirty trick, it winds up paying off for Peggy as she soon makes friends with Billy and the rest of the stars of the production. The closing number is pretty great, and the rest of the movie is too, with it's self-deprecating humor and depression era sensibilities. It's funny, but Ruby Keeler has the mannerisms of someone's grandma, but you gotta figure even grandmas were young once upon a time, back in the days when grandpas got excited at a peak at a pretty girl's knee.More
Spicey for the Depression era 30's, this gorgeously made musical is like none other ever performed. Use of forward thinking cinematography, an uncensored storyline, and musical numbers that inspire choreographers to this day, made this a very unique musical among the stereotyped genre. An amazing performance by the docile and demure Ruby Keeler, whose singing is so-so, but dancing is off the charts amazing. A web of romantic entanglements and decidely backwards Broadway politics leads to comedy. love, and pure entertainment.More
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