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Footlight Parade

Busby Berkeley’s last of three “backstage musicals” made at Warner Bros. in 1933 is the delightful, somewhat overshadowed Footlight Parade, which adds the otherworldly James Cagney to an already potent mix of elements. Featuring unforgettable numbers such as “Honeymoon Hotel” and “By a Waterfall,” along with more questionable material for which Berkeley and songwriters Harry Warren and Al Dubin have been rightly criticized. Cagney plays Chester Kent, a Broadway producer and composer stuck between art and commerce, forced into creating a series of musical prologues. Pressured by investors and a rival composer, Kent faces the show of his life, with only one shot to impress a wealthy theater owner. Cagney and Joan Blondell as his ever-suffering secretary are both in top form, along with Berkeley regulars Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler, while Berkeley’s numbers sing in this delightful and underseen film. “Rarely has such artistic obsessiveness been made so damn irresistible.”—Kenji Fujushima, Brooklyn Magazine.

Genres: Musical, Comedy, Drama

Other Films by Lloyd Bacon

42nd Street

During the early 1930s, Warner Bros. churned out a series of “backstage musicals” featuring complex choreography by the legendary Busby Berkeley, who had landed at the studio following stints on Broadway and for Samuel Goldwyn’s productions. At Warner, Berkeley made some of his most lasting creations, and 1933 was a banner year. 42nd Street follows

Other Films by Busby Berkeley

Gold Diggers of 1933

Busby Berkeley’s second of three “backstage musicals” for Warner Bros. in 1933 was the fabled Gold Diggers of 1933, which features some of the famed choreographer’s best-known dance creations, including “We’re in the Money,” “Pettin’ in the Park,” “The Shadow Waltz,” and “Remember My Forgotten Man,” all written by the team of Harry Warren and

42nd Street

During the early 1930s, Warner Bros. churned out a series of “backstage musicals” featuring complex choreography by the legendary Busby Berkeley, who had landed at the studio following stints on Broadway and for Samuel Goldwyn’s productions. At Warner, Berkeley made some of his most lasting creations, and 1933 was a banner year. 42nd Street follows