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
An article about this film's place in film history, "Movie Musicals Turn a Corner at '42nd Street'" by J. B. Kaufman appeared in the May 1994 issue of "American Cinematographer." 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 »
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 ...
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A digitally restored and colorized version was recently released. See more »
One of the best of the backstage musicals, it's very realistic for a Hollywood musical, in a gritty, fast-paced kind of way. Ruby Keeler is an utterly appealing ingenue, so fresh-faced and adorable that you don't care if she can't sing, dance, or act.
It's been so often imitated that a synopsis might seem like a collection of cliches, but since they were fresh ideas when the film was made they seem as original as they were at the time. It's all sincere and lively, and a lot of fun to watch. Fabulous musical numbers, too, classic Busby Berkeley (but my favorite is the rehearsal punctuated by mistakes and "You've got the busiest hands" from the chorus).
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