Turner Classic Movies
42nd Street
Written by Mariyln Forstot   

42nd Street (1933) is a timeless story which happens to take place during the Great Depression. Watching the outstanding singing and dancing, the viewer drifts back through time. But for the black and white picture, we would forget that we are watching a movie made more than 70 years ago! This was just four short years after the first "talkie" was introduced.

Classic films provide a very interesting look back into history because they are set in the present time of long ago. Even though we all know that film is usually larger than life, we nevertheless get a feel for the fashions, the manners and the ethical values as they really used to be, not as they are recreated and reinterpreted on a modern sound stage.

Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) is a Broadway musical director who risks everything for one last chance to stage a hit and recoup the wealth he lost in the stock market. Ruby Keeler, in her first film, is Peggy Sawyer, the ingénue who gets her big break when the leading lady, Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels), injures her ankle and cannot perform on opening night.

Dick Powell plays the "juvenile" male lead in the play-within-a-movie and the eventual love interest of young Peggy. Other members of the chorus line include Ginger Rogers and Una Merkel. The plays' performers all help each other. There's no back stabbing back stage, and all the characters are likeable.

During the first hour or so of this musical, there isn't enough of the wonderful songs of Harry Warren and Al Dubin. But then the last twenty minutes explodes with terrific production numbers as the "play" is presented. The choreography of Busby Berkeley can still dazzle, and familiar tunes include "Getting to Be a Habit," "Shuffle off to Buffalo," and the grand finale "42nd Street."

42nd Street is a true classic which hasn't lost its charm. It has endured for more than 70 years, and audiences of all ages will probably continue to enjoy it 100 years from now.

Director: Lloyd Bacon


Writers: Rian James & James Seymour


Cast Members: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent, Una Merkel, Ruby Keeler, Buy Kibbee, Ned Sparks, Dick Powell, Ginger Rogers


Rating: Unrated - Suitable for the whole family

 Classic Movie Guide Rating: 4.5 our of 5 stars  

Run Time: 89 minutes


Studio: Warner Bros. and Vitaphone Picture

 Black & White, standard version format  





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