On the cusp of the sixth annual TCM Classic Film Festival set to open Thursday night in Hollywood, our dance-critic’s eye is finding at least two strong movie musical entries — with great cinematic dance.
“Naughty, gaudy, bawdy, sporty” 42ND STREET gets a facelift with the world premiere of a new restoration. Originally, Warner Bros. production head Darryl F. Zanuck had planned to film Bradford Ropes’ steamy “putting-on-a-show” novel as a straight comedy. Realizing the right musical numbers could make the picture stand out, he recruited dance director Busby Berkeley—on the verge of quitting Hollywood after eight films—to create a series of eye-popping numbers to songs like “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and the title tune. For the first time, Berkeley demonstrated the potential of the film musical, creating numbers that, though ostensibly part of a big Broadway show, would never fit on any stage. (d. Lloyd Bacon, 89m, Digital) world premiere restoration courtesy of Warner Bros.
TCM Classic Film Festival | Hollywood Boulevard | Mar 26-29 | schedule