Footlight Parade - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Footlight Parade Reviews

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½ February 4, 2012
Busby Berkeley's stuff is amazing... singing, dancing,comedy and of course,wall to wall babes!
January 30, 2012
It is quite long and fast-paced, which creates the illusion that it lasts for hours. If you're watching it and about to give up - just wait. There's a BIG visual feast in store for you in the last half hour that you can't help but enjoy.
½ January 21, 2012
It's not the tightest of scripts, and the pacing feels terribly off, but the performances (both musical and theatrical) are great. James Cagney is just magnificent, although I wish that he had more musical numbers.
½ November 20, 2011
An uneven film that absolutely takes off in its final third with three outstanding musical set pieces. Exquisite choreography, inventive cinematography, and infectious music breathe life into an otherwise ho-hum film. Cagney is solid, eliciting a few smiles along the way, but the first two-thirds is little more than a set up to the final sequences.
½ October 23, 2011
A classic musical from Hollywood's finest creative force in movie musicals during the depression, Busby Berkeley. Cagney, best known for his gangster roles in his vaudeville roots as a song and dance man. Berkeley's numbers are like living works of art.
October 7, 2011
good stuff once thought to contain the first screen appearance of john garfield but that is NOT the case though the guy sure looks alot like him.
July 16, 2011
James Cagney is undoubtedly one of my favorite actors ever, and his tough guy persona, his singing and dancing skills, and undeniable charm comes full here. And to add to that, Busby Berkeley musical numbers including the amazing waterfall and pool choreographed numbers are something you just can't find in movies anymore. It's a spectacle with everything you could want. including a horny midget! Yet another reason to watch this immediately!
July 13, 2011
The first half is rough to sit through in order to see the amazing sequences during the second half. The idea of the film is keeping live musicals going on even though talking films are becoming the new fad but Footlight Parade resorts to film gimmicks in order to show their musical numbers instead of just letting the sets and dances show what Cagney's character is trying to keep alive.
Super Reviewer
November 22, 2010
fun and funny musical with cagney and dick powell. mindblowing busby berkeley numbers in the second half. the last one includes an opium den. also i think joan blondell called claire dodd a bitch :O
August 23, 2010
Warner Brothers studios of the late '20s & early '30s is said to more openly and bluntly portray the lives and struggles of average, working-class people. Moreover, this dance director, Busby Berkeley, is alleged to be somewhat more sensual than their peers.

All this is important to me because I find most movies of the 40's and 50's to be way, way too pristine, sterile, and politically-correct (for that time). I am looking forward to seeing more movies prior to the formation of the Production Code Administration (PCA) (1934-1968), which required all filmmakers to submit their films for approval before release (to monitor for everything under the sun).
August 13, 2010
A musical producer unable to compete with talkies starts putting together "prologues" -- live musical numbers to precede movies. In typical Busby Berkeley fashion, it's preposterous to think that any of these numbers could be performed as a stage-bound production, but that's part of the fun. The obvious highlight is "By a Waterfall", a jaw-dropping masterpiece of both choreography and cinematography, the definitive Berkeley creation. It's stunning, breathtaking. The pieces that bookend it aren't quite as dazzling, but still loads of fun. "Honeymoon Hotel" is a cute and clever number with some racy suggestions (and Billy Barty!). "Shanghai Lil" lets Cagney show off his song & dance skills, including a terrific tap routine with Ruby Keeler. If there are minor instances of very mild racism, they're more than offset by the multi-ethnic performers, a rare occurrence at the time. All three big productions are all crammed into the end of the film, which is the film's biggest downfall. The first hour contains only one dance number ("Sitting on a Backyard Fence") and one song ("Ah, the Moon Is Here"). Although both are delightful, the movie needs a little more to break up a somewhat ho-hum plot. There's some witty dialogue, and Cagney is dynamic enough to hold your attention (though I'm not really a fan of his), but the story just seems to go around in circles, albeit at a breakneck pace. But it's all enjoyable enough, and well worth it for the "By a Waterfall" payoff.
½ May 8, 2010
Eh, thought the story was average at best but the synchronized swimming is pretty spectacular, so that's worth a half star I guess.
January 3, 2010
Hilarious and so very pre-code. Honeymoon Hotel is one of the most pre-code things I have ever seen. James Cagney was amazing and Joan Blondell was so great to watch. Some day I want to say, "As long as they've got sidewalks, you've got a job!" and kick someone out the door just like Joan Blondell.
½ December 26, 2009
Very entertaining pre-Hays-code film. Love: "As long as they've got sidewalks, you've got a job!" Ha ha! All the numbers are memorable and most characters likable. This probably has the speediest plot of any film from this time--not only due to tight editing (though still slow for our modern tastes) but to some quick dialog as only Cagney can deliver. I was laughing out loud for lots of the film, not only because the comedy was great, but because I wasn't expecting these kinds of risque jokes and visual puns. This film feels very modern for being so old (ignoring--of course--the "oriental" characterizations).
½ December 1, 2009
Before Yankee Doodle Dandy and long long before Ragtime, James Cagney had a role in this massive Lloyd Bacon-directed musical that also featured Dick Powell and master choreographer Busby Berkeley.
October 5, 2009
"Footlight Parade" wouldn't even qualify as a musical were it not for the handful of Busby Berkeley numbers at the end. They're all one-of-a-kind, but they're not worth sitting through the first hour of the film, which is just too talky and uninteresting.
½ September 28, 2009
What a memory! By a waterfall, I'm calling you-oo-oo-oo~!
August 30, 2009
By a waterfall is one of the most amazing routines I have ever seen.
August 11, 2009
recommended by greenfruit.
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