7.8/10
3,407
60 user 30 critic

Footlight Parade (1933)

Trailer
3:16 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Chester Kent struggles against time, romance, and a rival's spy to produce spectacular live "prologues" for movie houses.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Millionaire turned composer Dick Powell rescues unemployed Broadway people with a new play.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Warren William, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon
42nd Street (1933)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show and, at the last moment, a chorus girl has to replace the star.

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent
Dames (1934)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Multi-millionaire Ezra Ounce wants to start a campaign against 'filthy' forms of entertainment, like Broadway-Shows. He comes to his relatives families and makes them members of his ... See full summary »

Directors: Ray Enright, Busby Berkeley
Stars: Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Stage-producer J.J. Hobart, is going to put on a new show, but he doesn't know that his two partners lost the money at the stock market. Insurance salesman Rosmer Peek falls in love with ex... See full summary »

Director: Lloyd Bacon
Stars: Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In a luxury hotel stage director Nicoleff stages a show to get the money to pay his bills. Mrs. Prentiss, who is backing the show wants her daughter Ann to marry the millionaire T. Mosely ... See full summary »

Director: Busby Berkeley
Stars: Dick Powell, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria Stuart
Blonde Crazy (1931)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Adventures of a cocky con man and his glamorous accomplice.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Louis Calhern
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A Parisian tailor finds himself posing as a baron in order to collect a sizeable bill from an aristocrat, only to fall in love with an aloof young princess.

Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Stars: Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Charles Ruggles
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Chinese warlord and an engaged Christian missionary fall in love.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Nils Asther, Toshia Mori
Drama | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Famous motor-racing champion Joe Greer returns to his hometown to compete in a local race. He discovers his younger brother has aspirations to become a racing champion and during the race ... See full summary »

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young hoodlum rises up through the ranks of the Chicago underworld, even as a gangster's accidental death threatens to spark a bloody mob war.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: James Cagney, Jean Harlow, Edward Woods
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Wrongly convicted James Allen serves in the intolerable conditions of a southern chain gang, which later comes back to haunt him.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Paul Muni, Glenda Farrell, Helen Vinson
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Events take an unhappy turn for two Bill and Jack, two locomotive engineers, after Bill is attracted to his best friend's wife.

Director: William A. Wellman
Stars: Grant Withers, Mary Astor, Regis Toomey
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Nan
...
Bea
...
Scotty
...
Francis
...
Gould
...
Mrs, Gould
...
Bowers
...
Vivian
Gordon Westcott ...
Thompson
Arthur Hohl ...
Frazer
Renee Whitney ...
Cynthia Kent
Barbara Rogers ...
Gracie
...
Apolinaris
...
Joe
Edit

Storyline

Chester Kent produces musical comedies on the stage. With the beginning of the talkies era he changes to producing short musical prologues for movies. This is stressful to him, because he always needs new units and his rival is stealing his ideas. He can get an contract with a producer if he is able to stage in three days three new prologues. In spite of great problems, he does it. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Climaxing Warner Bros.' glittering parade of musicals! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 October 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A rivalda fénye  »

Box Office

Budget:

$703,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The actress who successfully auditions in the "Ah the Moon is Here" number is Gracie Barrie. She is not credited but a 1933 press release identifies her. See more »

Goofs

The newspaper claims that Honeymoon Hotel has "400 rooms, 400 baths," and yet later we see all guests of each floor disappearing into a single bathroom on each floor. See more »

Quotes

Chester Kent: Listen, Nan, send a new boy and girl on right away, and make sure they're not in love with each other.
Nan Prescott: Right.
Chester Kent: Uh, get a couple already married.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Footlight Parade: Music for the Decades (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Lady Fair
(uncredited)
Music by Sammy Fain
Played by the theater orchestra prior to the Shanghai Lil sequence
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
This is New Jersey, not Hollywood
23 April 2006 | by (Van Buren, Arkansas) – See all my reviews

An opium den, a dirty little boy (actually a midget), prostitutes galore, a violent fracas in a dive, a motel for sexual shenanigans, scantily clad babes with cleavage a lot, a boozer falling down the stairs, a racially mixed clientèle in a bar with Asians, Africans, and Anglos treated equally, does this sound like a film playing at the local shopping mall? Wrong. These are all scenes from a 1933 musical.

The first half of "Footlight Parade" is preparation for a musical extravaganza which occupies the last half of the film. Chester Kent (Cagney) is about to lose his job and does lose his playgirl wife as a result of talking pictures squeezing out live stage musicals. His producers take him to see a popular talky of the day, John Wayne in "The Big Trail." Before each showing of the flick, a dance number is presented as a prologue. Shorts, news reels, serials, and cartoons would later serve the purpose. Kent gets the idea that a prologue chain would be the road to salvation for the dwindling live musical business. Kent is basically an idea man along the lines of choreographer Busby Berkeley. Could it be that Cagney's character is patterned after Berkeley? Could be.

In preparation for the prologues, Kent learns that his ideas are being stolen by a rival. He uncovers the traitor, fires him, then unbeknown to him a new leak is planted in the form a dazzling temptress. His assistant, Nan Prescott (Joan Blondell - soon to be Mrs. Dick Powell) has the hots for Kent and is determined to expose the wiles of the temptress. A new singer from Arkansas College shows up in the form of Scotty Blain (Dick Powell) who turns out to be a real find and is paired with Bea Thorn (Ruby Keeler). The resulting three prologue musicals, which couldn't possibly have been presented on any cinema stage of the day, are as fresh and enjoyable today as they were over seventy years ago, "Honeymoon Hotel," "By a Waterfall," and "Shanghai Lil."

Of special note is the song and dance of tough-guy James Cagney. Like Fred Astaire and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Cagney's dancing appeared natural and unrehearsed, although hours went into practice to get each step just right. Not as good a singer as Astaire, Cagney's singing, like Astaire's, sounded natural, unlike the crooning so popular at the time. It's amazing that one person could be so talented and so versatile as James Cagney.

Most critics prefer the "Shanghai Lil" segment over the other two. Yet the kaleidoscopic choreography of "By a Waterfall" is astonishing. How Berkeley was able to film the underwater ballets and to create the human snake chain must have been difficult because it has never been repeated. The close up shots mixed brilliantly with distant angles is a must-see. The crisp black and white photography is much more artistic than it would have been if shot in color.

Though not nearly as socially conscious as "Gold Diggers of 1933," "Footlight Parade" stands on its own as one of the most amazing and outrageous musicals ever put on the big screen.


38 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Martha Raye - Ah! The Moon is Here implement13
Ruby Keeler - Asian Call Girl? H3463
Busby Berkeley chorusgirls in 'footlight parade' richsmi
Actress in Footlight Parade greg-franck
DVD!!! CCB-2
miss b uh rich suziecheezy
Discuss Footlight Parade (1933) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?