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42nd Street 1933 is the classic fast paced backstage movie musical a refreshing film musical forever and saved Warner Bros It saved the studios from bankruptcy helping it grow into a major studio Set during the Depression and about the Depression the film is considered the backstage musical par excellence the grand daddy of them all It was based on putting on a show tradition stemming from MGMs first sound film The Broadway Melody another backstage musical Lloyd Bacon provided its skillful director with a funny often-sardonic screenplay by Rian James and James Seymour The film was nominated for Best Picture The film succeeded by mixing veteran stars and exotic chorus girls in abundance 42nd Street was the first of three landmark musical film released in 1933 by Warner Bros to revitalize the musical film genre In contrast to fantasy escapist romantic dance musicals of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers that also began in the same year Flying Down to Rio 1933 The film was an unbelievable look at the tough realities of backstage life behind the footlights The urban milieu of the film is filled with crisp slangy bitter dialogue and wisecracks streetwise characters topical references desperately striving chorines dancers crew and down and out references to the Depression After the credits and the brief introduction of charters the film opens with a shaky aerial view of mid town Manhattan presumably near 42nd Street As car horns honk and the sounds of the elevated and other traffic fill the soundtrack full frame close-ups appear of street corner signs along 42nd Street all way to Times Square The image dissolves into a view of a theatrical agent hanging up a phone call and exclaiming Okay say Jones and Barry are doing a show The exciting news alert is passed by word of mouth from one person to another because it means employment Then more voices join in Multiple faces appear superimposed in a dancing kaleidoscope
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