Time: 89 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Academy Award nominations for Best Sound and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: A producer puts on what may be his last Broadway show, and at the last moment a chorus girl has to replace the star.
BOTTOM LINE: 42nd STREET is one of the first and still one of the best backstage musicals. Much of the credit for the films' longevity has to go to Busby Berkeley. It's his innovative choreography and camera work that make this film continue to shine 75 years later. The plot centers on the production of a new Broadway musical. As we watch the show come together, we experience the sudden rise of a young dancer, the secret love of the leading lady and the illness-fueled ambition of the show's director. Each learns a valuable lesson during the grueling 6-week rehearsal period, as they try to make the most of their lives and careers. There's comedy, romance, betrayal and shapely legs galore.
Though most of the cast is fairly unknown to anyone alive today, they were some of the best actors and dancers working in Hollywood at the time. The story occasionally hits notes of melodrama, but mostly it's a fairly honest look at what it takes to make a hit show. Much like her character, Ruby Keeler shines as the unknown forced into the limelight. Ginger Rogers adds the best comic bits as chorus girl Anytime Annie. The name says everything you need to know about her role. The musical numbers are a bit old-fashioned, but the finale is definitely worth the wait. A priceless piece of early Hollywood fare that's still first-class entertainment.