FOOTLIGHT PARADE
1933, Warner Bros., 104 min, USA, Dir: Lloyd Bacon

When the Depression forces a director (James Cagney) off the stage, he tries the screen, creating musical “prologues” to be staged in movie theaters before films; to land a big contract, he must mount three massive production numbers in a single night. Cagney is magnetic in a performance arguably superior to his Oscar-winning YANKEE DOODLE DANDY turn, and Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell are equally entertaining in supporting roles. This fast-paced pre-Code dazzler was named to the National Film Registry, thanks at least in part to Busby Berkeley’s spectacular dance sequences.


42ND STREET
1933, Warner Bros., 89 min, USA, Dir: Lloyd Bacon

An aging Broadway director puts on one last show and ably handles constant complications - including a last-minute replacement when the star of his production breaks her ankle. The most famous of the Warner Bros. musicals is also one of the fastest and funniest, thanks to expert work by Ginger Rogers and a plethora of Warner’s contract players. Optimistic and sexy yet sharply aware of the Depression's ravages, this beautifully choreographed - by Busby Berkeley - classic influenced later films from ALL THAT JAZZ to BOOGIE NIGHTS. With Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler.


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