7.6/10
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Footlight Parade (1933)

Passed | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 21 October 1933 (USA)
Trailer
3:17 | Trailer
Chester Kent struggles against time, romance, and a rival's spy to produce spectacular live "prologues" for movie houses.

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

Manuel Seff (screen play), James Seymour (screen play)
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Chester Kent
Joan Blondell ... Nan Prescott
Ruby Keeler ... Bea Thorn
Dick Powell ... Scotty Blair
Frank McHugh ... Francis
Guy Kibbee ... Silas Gould
Ruth Donnelly ... Mrs. Harriet Gould
Hugh Herbert ... Bowers
Claire Dodd ... Vivian Rich
Gordon Westcott ... Thompson
Arthur Hohl ... Frazer
Renee Whitney ... Cynthia Kent
Barbara Rogers ... Gracie
Paul Porcasi ... Apolinaris
Philip Faversham ... Joe Grant
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Storyline

Chester Kent produces musical comedies on the stage. With the beginning of the talkies era he changes to producing short musical prologues for movies. This is stressful to him, because he always needs new units and his rival is stealing his ideas. He can get an contract with a producer if he is able to stage in three days three new prologues. In spite of great problems, he does it. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Jimmy Cagney singing and dancing for the first time on the screen! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

21 October 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Footlight Parade See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$703,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cynthia's demand for $25,000 would equate to $478,000 in 2017. See more »

Goofs

The newspaper claims that Honeymoon Hotel has "400 rooms, 400 baths," and yet later we see all guests of each floor disappearing into a single bathroom on each floor. See more »

Quotes

Chester Kent: Where's Thompson?
Bea: Out for a few minutes.
Chester Kent: He'll be out for life if he doesn't stick closer to business.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Complicated Women (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Honeymoon Hotel
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Performed by Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and Chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Depression Era Musical Masterpiece
23 July 2002 | by claudiacasswellSee all my reviews

Footlight Parade is among the best of the 1930's musical comedy extravaganzas. A snappy script and an all-star cast including Jimmy Cagney, the lovely Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, and Ruby Keeler make this film a cut above the rest. Directed and choreographed by the creative genius Busby Berkeley, this film will have you grinning from ear-to-ear from start to finish.

Busby, of course, is the undisputed master of the Hollywood musical with "Gold Diggers of 1933" and "42nd Street" to his credit (as Dance Director). Footlight Parade is graced by hundreds of scantily-clad chorus girls, a Berkeley trademark. The elaborate dance numbers were shot with only one camera and Busby was the first director to film close-ups of the dancers. His obsession with shapely legs and "rear-view" shots is amply demonstrated here. The overall effect is highly erotic and mesmerizing.

Our boy Jimmy Cagney plays Chester Kent, a producer of "prologues" or short musical stage productions that were performed in movie theaters to entertain the audience before the talkies were shown. He's surrounded by crooked partners, a corporate spy, and a gold-digging girlfriend. Although Cagney had a solid background in vaudeville, this was the first film in which he showed his dancing talents. Joan Blondell is memorable as Cagney's wise-cracking, lovestruck secretary. And Ruby Keeler is adorable, as always.

The film climaxes with three outstanding production numbers, "Honeymoon Hotel", "The Waterfall", and "Shanghai Lil", each one a masterpiece and not likely to be duplicated in today's Hollywood where so-called "special effects" have replaced creative cinematography.

Claudia's Bottom Line: Clever and erotic, with some of the best musical production numbers ever put on celluloid. A thoroughly enjoyable Depression era romp.


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