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Josef von Sternberg
Anna May Wong
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Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter), a successful Broadway director, produces a new show, in spite of his poor health. The money comes from a rich older man, who is in love with the star of the show, Dorothy Brock. But Dorothy (Bebe Daniels) doesn't respond to his love, because she's still in love with her old partner. On the night before the premiere, Dorothy breaks her ankle, and Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler), one of the chorus girls, tries to take over Dorothy's part. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
In the 42nd Street finale, dancers on stage pass a store named Reticker's. It was named after Warner Bros. art director Hugh Reticker, who labored at WB for two decades, but did not get screen recognition until two years after this film was made. It's likely he had a hand in designing this set also. See more »
The establishing shot of Dorothy Brock's (Bebe Daniels) hotel door, on the night before the big opening, clearly shows her to be in room 831, yet, when she throws everyone out of her rooms a few minutes later, the door number is 284. See more »
Matrimony is baloney
She'll be wanting alimony in a year or so;
Ann Lowell, Loraine:
Still they go and shuffle, shuffle off to Buffalo.
When she knows as much as we know, she'll be on her way to Reno,
While he still has dough; she'll give him the shuffle
Ann Lowell, Loraine:
When they're back from Buffalo.
I'll bet that she's the farmer's daughter
And he's that well-known traveling man;
He once stopped down at the farm house,
That's how the whole affair began!
[...] See more »
Music by Harry Warren
Instrumental heard in apartment scene with Pat Denning and Peggy Sawyer
Also heard after Peggy's practice for the lead in the show, when Billy Lawler joins her See more »
I seem to recall reading/hearing somewhere that movie musicals were becoming less popular in the 1930s. They were, for the most part, creaky messes with poor sound quality. Then came this movie, which you can credit (or blame, depending on whether you like musicals or not) for popularizing them.
The story has been done before now (2004) and was probably done before in 1933. Prima donna gets injured, the ingenue must take her place. All the clichés come out in full force, but with enough enthusiasm that you may find yourself sucked in, depending on how jaded a viewer you are.
The performances are good. Daniels is stunning, and a good actress, and she can sing. We don't get to see her dance too much though. Powell makes a good juvenile lead and sings well. Keeler gets a bit annoying, but that's probably just the character she is playing. She cannot really sing, and I never thought her dancing was that great. I'm a fan of Ginger Rogers though, so I am biased when I wonder how this movie could have catapulted Keeler and Powell to stardom while Rogers had to wait until she was paired with Astaire for her career to take off. After seeing movies starring the likes of Astaire, Rogers, Eleanor Powell, Ann Miller, Gene Kelly, etc. I find Keeler's dancing to be a bit heavy-footed. Not that it is terrible, she does pull the part off well enough. The Busby Berkeley choreography is fabulous--no one did it like he did it. Just never you mind that if the show were actually on a stage the way it is supposed to be in the movie, you wouldn't actually notice the aerial geometric patterns. Still, it is nice to look at. So leave your sense of reality in the other room, pop this movie in your VCR/DVD player, and enjoy!
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