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42nd Street (1933)

Unrated | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 11 March 1933 (USA)
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) | 1 more credit »

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



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Complete credited cast:
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


OK. Say, Jones and Barry are doin' a show! - That's great. Jones and Barry are doin' a show.


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
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Did You Know?


As a publicity stunt, a train called 'The 42nd Street Special' traveled from Hollywood to New York City, arriving in time for the opening at the Strand Theater on 8 March 1933. On the train were Warner contract players who were called to the stage after the movie was shown (according to the review in "The New York Times"). Included were Joe E. Brown, Tom Mix and his horse, Bette Davis, Laura La Plante, Glenda Farrell, Lyle Talbot, Leo Carrillo, Claire Dodd, Preston Foster and Eleanor Holm. 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 »


Slim Murphy: Hey got a match?
Pat Denning: Yep... why I guess so... yeah.
Slim Murphy: Don't happen to know a guy named Pat Denning do ya?
Pat Denning: Why yes.
Slim Murphy: We got a message for him. This guy Pat Denning's a pretty wise mug but he ain't wise enough and if he don't lay off that Dorothy Brock dame, it's gonna be just too bad... for Denning, get me?
Pat Denning: Alright I'll tell him.
Slim Murphy: Yeah well...
[punches Pat in the mouth and Pat falls down]
Slim Murphy: that's so ya don't forget.
Mug with Murphy: Yeah
See more »


Referenced in The 42nd. Street Special (1933) See more »


Shuffle Off to Buffalo
(1932) (uncredited)
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Music by Harry Warren
Sung and Danced by Ruby Keeler and Clarence Nordstrom
Also sung by Ginger Rogers, Una Merkel, and Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

the musical that changed musicals
20 June 2004 | by (New Jersey, USA) – See all my reviews

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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