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42nd Street

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1933

The musical film "42nd Street" debuted on March 9, 1933, and has since become a classic in the genre. It tells the story of the creation of a Broadway musical called "Pretty Lady," which follows the rise of a young ingenue, Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler), to stardom.

The film centers around a group of theatrical producers and their attempt to put on a successful show despite limited resources and mounting pressure. The leading man, Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter), is a seasoned director tasked with turning Peggy into a star. He faces numerous obstacles, including the meddling of the show's wealthy investor, Abner Dillon (Guy Kibbee), and the romantic tensions between Peggy and her two male co-stars, Billy Lawler (Dick Powell) and Pat Denning (George Brent).

The film's title is derived from the street in Manhattan that is home to many famous theaters, including the New Amsterdam Theatre, where "Pretty Lady" is set to debut. Beyond the initial nod to the location, the title serves as a metaphorical reflection of the careening chaos that is the production process.

Throughout the film, the characters must navigate everything from missed cues and technical malfunctions to backstage drama and the physical health of their performers. Despite these challenges, the show must go on, and the film culminates with Peggy's triumphant Broadway debut.

At its core, "42nd Street" is a quintessentially American tale of ambition and perseverance. Through Peggy's journey to stardom, the film delivers a message of hope and optimism, even in the face of overwhelming obstacles. The musical numbers, choreographed by the legendary Busby Berkeley, are some of the most memorable in film history and include iconic tunes like "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" and "We're in the Money."

Beyond its enduring cultural impact, "42nd Street" also serves as a fascinating relic of Hollywood's Golden Age. Released during the height of the Great Depression, the film reflects the challenges and anxieties of the era while also providing a form of escapist entertainment. The lavish musical numbers and glamorous sets offer a glimpse into a world of opulence and extravagance that was out of reach for most Americans at the time.

Overall, "42nd Street" is a classic Hollywood musical that continues to captivate audiences almost 90 years after its release. With its infectious energy, memorable musical numbers, and timeless message of perseverance, it remains a beloved staple of American cinema.

42nd Street is a Comedy, Romance movie released in 1933. It has a runtime of 89 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.3. It also holds a MetaScore of 83.

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7.3/10
83/100
Director
Lloyd Bacon
Stars
Warner Baxter, Bebe Daniels, George Brent
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