Footlight Parade (1933)
Director: Lloyd Bacon
Writer: Manuel Seff, James Seymour
Starring: James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, and some other people
this guy comes up with production numbers for before movies. so instead of listening to 15 minutes of commercials that one paid a buttload to watch, a person would get to watch a wonderful musical number with hundreds of lady dancers, and a rising fountain made of women complete with a pool and synchronized swimmers. he comes up with a new production every week, but his ideas keep getting stolen by his rival through a leak in his company. this guy's secretary is totally in love with him, and she's under appreciated, and there's also a sub- plot with a guy who is a principle singer/actor pursuing a smart desk chick with glasses.
Given "42nd Street" last week, this was better than my admittedly-low expectations. The plot did have some layers, though few of them were terribly believable. Did Cagney really take so long to figure out that he was being cheated? How is touring a production company less expensive than producing shows locally? I'd buy that part if they were going to cities to train other companies, but that part wasn't clear. Also the character of the choreographer was a little too too over the top.
Acting was par for the age. EVERYBODY mugged for the camera, with Cagney totally taking the prize for that one. He delivered some pretty excellent lines, including something that (depending on the specifics of the vernacular of the period) could have been referring to either a butt or a cooch. Those who were tasked with dancing danced well; and those who were tasked with acting as if they didn't know how to act did pretty poorly.
The cool part about this was the sequence of Berkley musicals at the end, though Leila and I both agree that we have to watch more late-period BB and be done with this black & white crap already. That said, those numbers were really awesome, with wedding cakes of women and swimming and contrasting costumes and all those signature elements. They could have been spaced a little more throughout the film, and not one of them is believable as something that would actually be produced on stage, but they made me sit up and watch for the last 15 minutes of the film.
This was yet another movie which counts as, "not recommended, but not exactly a waste of time."
eh. this was alright. it was one of those movies that is a base for every romantic comedy ever made since. i think the busby berkeley stuff could have been a little more dispersed throughout, instead of the last 20 minutes of the movie. it reminded me of the middle of "singing in the rain" with the "gotta dance" pitch, and the dream sequence in "the flower drum song" all of which go on so long, and don't have too much to do with the actual plot of the movie. i found myself tuning out halfway through (the sequences). that is not to say the pool sequence wasn't amazing, because it toe- toe- totally was. and i did find myself singing the song for the rest of the day...... so i guess if you're into watching an old movie, this would be an ok one to watch.