Footlight Parade (1933)
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In my opinion, much better than 42nd Street.
The first hour or so of this is pretty forgettable - it's all about the 3 finale setpieces, which are just spectacular. CGI could never create anything as awesome as Busby Berkeley!
If 1933's Footlight Parade is a musical, it really makes you wait for it, only dribbling out a short number somewhere in the middle and showing some rehearsal shenanigans for the length of two acts. But as a fast-talking comedy about James Cagney going mad trying to put on a dozen shows simultaneously so theater can stay afloat in the wake of talky moving pictures' popularity (and cost efficiency), with a couple of romantic subplots thrown in, it's pretty fun. The main cast - Cagney, Blondell, Keeler and Powell - are well supported by amusing eccentrics like the easily-convinced boss, and the movie's MVP, the miserable, pessimistic dance choreographer. It coasts on its frenetic energy and then the third act hits. Three, back-to-back, and totally impossible musical numbers choreographed by Busby Berkeley, one of which must surely be the best water-based musical number of all time. I can't even. And for pre-Code enthusiasts (of whose number I count myself) will be keen on the sheer amount of innuendo throughout (including in the musical numbers, though the word innuendo is perhaps too soft for it).
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In 5 official lists
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This movie ranks #24 in BFI's 100 Film Musicals
This movie ranks #34 in A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese
This movie ranks #73 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #82 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
This movie ranks #348 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life