42nd Street (1933)

Description   [from Freebase]

42nd Street is a 1933 American Warner Bros. musical film directed by Lloyd Bacon with choreography by Busby Berkeley. The songs were written by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), and the script was written by Rian James and James Seymour, with Whitney Bolton (uncredited), from the novel by Bradford Ropes. The film is a backstage musical, and was very successful at the box office. 42nd Street was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1934, and in 1998 it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In 2006 this film ranked 13th on the American Film Institute's list of best musicals. It is 1932, during the early days of the Depression, and Broadway producers Jones (Robert McWade) and Barry (Ned Sparks) put on Pretty Lady, a musical starring beautiful Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels). Brock is involved with industrialist Abner Dillon (Guy Kibbee), who is the show's "angel" (financial backer).


Of Golden Age musicals, 42nd Street is about as close to the archetype as they come. It’s about an hour of exposition as a big Broadway director puts on his last big show (as he’s ill), and all manner of catastrophes befall him en route to opening night. Most notably in 42nd Street, his star breaks her ankle and has to be replaced by a chorus girl. Then comes the music and dancing, rapid fire. While ‘Shuffle Off to Buffalo’ is the sentimental favorite musical number, it’s the title song and dance number, about 20 minutes of insanity that takes place largely on an enormous lazy susan, that really gets things moving. Too bad it comes right at the end.

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