Saturday, June 9, 2012
6 of 1001 Movies: 42nd Street (1933)
Broadway producers decide to put on a play, Pretty Lady, during the Great Depression in 1932. Dorothy Brock is set to star until an injury leaves her sidelined, and in need of a replacement. The director, Julian Marsh, needs to insure this play is a success or his own reputation, and finances, so he takes a gamble on Peggy Sawyer who is new to the Broadway scene.
I didn't think this movie would be so adorable, but it is! The acting is very dramatic, and I think it provides a very historical, insightful look at the early days of Broadway. At the beginning of the movie we are already thrown into the middle of casting where women are auditioning for the dancing routines. Peggy Sawyer makes a memorable entrance from almost walking into the mens' room, to falling asleep when call backs are being given, you can tell this isn't the scene she is used to.
The costumes, and stage are very elaborate, and glitzy. The acting is just as dramatic, and probably at times even over done. All the characters were so intriguing though including Dorothy Brock, and a few of the dancers hired for Pretty Lady. Above all though, Peggy Sawyer has some of the most memorable outfits of the 30s throughout the movie. If nothing else you should watch this for the incredible vintage attire.
When you get to the last twenty minutes you finally see the play, and what all this hard work has been about. It's very difficult to even turn away for those last minutes, because the music, and dancing is so entrancing. The memorable routines to songs like "Shuffle Off to Buffalo" will have you thinking about the movie long after. There were a number of scenes being tried for the first time, such as the camera zooming in between the dancer's legs, and few other scenes that will be obvious if you watch. You will see why this movie was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards when you watch.
Besides few moments that lull the movie will keep you wanting to watch. If nothing else because the music will keep you there, and the way the actors handle things so dramatically. The actors on Broadway are also perceived as some wild party people in their off hours with the suggestion of sex taking place, and the drinking. Nothing is very strongly alluded to though, but if you are the modern day viewer you might get a laugh out of how certain things are snuck in.
Rating 3 of 5.