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« Strange Fascination (1952) | Main | Diabolique (1955) »
Monday
Jan162012

Footlight Parade (1933)

Nobody does it bigger, better or more bodaciously than the master of the stage spectacle, Busby Berkeley. In 1933's Footlight Parade, James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler tap into their musical talents to bring us a pre-code classic that's as good of a movie as it is a musical. James Cagney channels Busby (who choreographs the stunning, kaleidoscopic dance routines) as a Broadway director who comes up with a scheme to break into movies through those very same kaleidoscopic dance routines. 

In an effort to stimulate the show business economy and his own personal economy, out of work theater director James Cagney comes up with a brilliant idea. Stage live relevant prologues to the movies that are being shown at the various movie theaters that are springing up overnight from the old theaters. Some other competitors get wind of it and the competition is on.

It's funny that the Cagney character stages these "live" productions that would never in a bazillion years fit on a theater stage. Huge pools, staircases, waterfalls..., um, I don't think so. Pre-code morals provide a certain sauciness that enhances the snappy dialogue, skimpy bathing suits, timeless tunes and over-the-top visuals in this fun musical. Worth a watch. Plus, filmed in Vitaphone!

Learn more about the movie at IMDB  •  Buy the movie at Amazon

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