The Golddiggers of 1933 is our gold standard for golden era musicals, and while Footlight Parade doesn’t quit reach the magnificence of that film, it’s an engaging fun romp. Bolstered by an uber charming cast, all of which you notice made other categories this week including a fast talking, lithe dancing James Cagney, the wide eyed sass with a good head on her shoulders, Joan Blondell, the ultimate “juvenile” and nice guy Dick Powell, and the petite sweetheart Ruby Keeler.
Of course, the real centerpiece of are the over the top Busby Berkeley musical numbers that among other wonders include: men and women dressed as giant cats, a waterfall full of lady godivas, a hotel where women get busy on their wedding nights, an opium den populated by women in incredible costumes, and that man/child thing dressed as a mouse.
The film moves along at a breakneck pace, it’s at least twenty minutes before there’s even a pause between action and dialogue. The plot, that rushes by you, involves the arrival of “talkies” which pushes musical producer Cagney into the new business of creating live performance “prologues” for the new fangled movie theaters. It’s all a build up to the back to back musical numbers though.