42nd Street
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The quintessential "backstage" musical, 42nd Street traces the history of a Broadway musical comedy, from casting call to opening night. Warner Baxter plays famed director Julian Marsh, who despite failing health is determined to stage one last great production, "Pretty Lady." Others involved include "Pretty Lady" star Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels); Dorothy's "sugar daddy" (Guy Kibbee), who finances the show; her true love Pat (George Brent); leading man Billy Lawlor (Dick Powell); and starry-eyed chorus girl Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler). It practically… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This 1933 film is the best known of the Warner Brothers Depression-era musicals, though it doesn't compare in dash and extravagance to later entries in the cycle."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The careful building of the eye-level proscenium that's exploded by swooping cinematic music"
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"...the film that practically invented every backstage musical cliché we know today...remains a remarkable achievement for a film over seven decades old."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"One can't say enough good things about what Busby Berkeley did for the musical."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"[Features] great Busby Berkeley production numbers."
‑ Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
"The liveliest and one of the most tuneful screen musical comedies that has come out of Hollywood."
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"A deliciously funny musical; racy and light years ahead of its time."
‑ Chris Laverty, Clothes on Film
"42nd Street may not be the best backstage musical ever made, but it's certainly the most enjoyable and durable in appeal--find out why."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"The result is an absolute spectacular. Not to be missed."
‑ Angie Errigo, Empire Magazine
"Busby Berkeley choreography; Powell and Keeler plus all-star supporting cast. A Warner Bros. clasic musical, though campy by today's standards."
‑ Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
"Berkeley choreographs chorines and camera with mischievous dexterity."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"Of Golden Age musicals, 42nd Street is about as close to the archetype as they come."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"The strength of a musical is its songs, and this film had a mixed bag."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"Busby Berkeley's astonishing choreography is singularly cinematic and still astonishing."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner
"The classic backstage musical, still great"
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for 42nd Street on Rotten Tomatoes