42nd Street Review

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Sickly theatre director Julian Marsh battles his illness to put on a new broadway spectacular. The show's rich producer has his would-be girlfriend Bebe (Dorothy Brock) in mind for the lead, who breaks her ankle the night before the premiere. Determined that the show must go on, Peggey Sawyer (Ruby Keeler) is plucked from the chorus and propelled into the spotlight.


The definitive backstage musical still has plenty of pizzaz. Warner Baxter's putting everything he can into his show when - oo-er! - the leading lady takes a tumble. But - hurrah! - plucky little understudy Keeler is made of the kind of stuff that can take over the role and make it her own.

Great wisecracks, frenzied hoofing, the wide-eyed Dick 'n' Ruby and Baxter's classic pep talk: "You're going out there a youngster, but you've got to come back a star" make this an absolute winner. Busby Berkeley's production numbers are at their extravagant best.

A movie that could only have been produced by the 1930s studio system. Absolutely spectacular.