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42nd Street (1933)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Musical, Romance  |  11 March 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,520 users  
Reviews: 95 user | 61 critic

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



(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: 42nd Street (1933)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
George Brent ...
Una Merkel ...
Ned Sparks ...
Mac Elroy
Edward J. Nugent ...
Robert McWade ...
Andy Lee


Renowned Broadway producer/director Julian Marsh is hired to put together a new musical revue. It's being financed by Abner Dillon to provide a starring vehicle for his girlfriend, songstress Dorothy Brock. Marsh, who is quite ill, is a difficult task master working long hours and continually pushing the cast to do better. When Brock breaks her ankle one of the chorus girls, Peggy Sawyer, gets her big chance to be the star. She also finds romance along the way. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Forty-Second Street  »

Box Office


$439,000 (estimated)


$2,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original Broadway production based on the movie "42nd Street" opened at the Winter Garden Theater on August 25, 1980, ran for 3486 performances, won the 1981 Tony Award for the Best Musical and was nominated for Best Book for a Musical. See more »


The "42nd Street" finale features full size cars as well as buildings. In order to present this the stage would have had to be at least 60 feet deep and over 100 feet wide. This would be impossible in a real theater. See more »


Julian Marsh: All right, now, everybody... quiet, and listen to me. Tomorrow morning, we're gonna start a show. We're gonna rehearse for five weeks, and we're gonna open on scheduled time, and I MEAN scheduled time. You're gonna work and sweat, and work some more. You're gonna work days, and you're gonna work nights, and you're gonna work BETWEEN time when I think you need it. You're gonna dance until your feet fall off, till you're not able to stand up any longer, BUT five weeks from now, we're going to ...
See more »


You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me
(1932) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Music by Harry Warren
Played in the opening credits and often in the score
Sung by Bebe Daniels with Harry Akst at the piano
See more »

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User Reviews

Adorable musical gem retains its charms in the 21st century
23 January 2003 | by (classic film/tv site – See all my reviews

While a few lines here and there no longer hold their spark, overall, this is a really charming little musical. THE backstage musical.

In her screen debut, it's impossible not to like Ruby Keeler, the stereotypical girl hoofer next door. Keeler had amazing energy -- after retirement and many years raising her family, she returned to Broadway in "No No Nanette". How many 80 year olds do you know who could still tap against the footlights? (As for comparisons between Keeler and wisecracker Ginger Rogers, that's about as silly as comparing Fred Astaire to Gene Kelly. Keeler, like Kelly, had a raw, athletic talent; Astaire, on the other hand, was more of a suave dancer, while Rogers exuded a sexy, spirited appeal.)

The cast is terrific. Warner Baxter seems ready to crack up any second; former silent star Bebe Daniels is classy, likable and vulnerable even in her bitchiest moments. One of her best scenes is during a drunken cast party the night before the musical opens in Philly, when she kicks and screams with abandon, and yet, you can't blame the dame. "When you're in a lady's room, act like one!"

Una Merkel, with Rogers, is hilarious, batting her eyes all over the place.

There's some masculine eye candy, too, when Keeler walks in on Dick"Young & Healthy" Powell in his underwear.

He can hold a great tune, seranading Berkeley's favorite gal, Toby Wing. Wing is so luminous in her spotlight number, it's hard to believe she never broke it wide open, like other former chorus gals Paulette Godard, Betty Grable and Lucille Ball.

George Brent, the blandest of Warners' leading men, is hopelessly miscast as Daniels' old vaudeville companion, but he plays well against Ruby Keeler and Daniels. A sharp little scene with Keeler's Irish landlady underscores the desperate times. Keeler's living on a prayer, living in a small room with a suitcase and not much more.

A great flick for a late evening, or Sunday afternoon.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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