Busby Berkeley musicals

Joan Blondell and James Cagney in Footlight Parade

Joan Blondell and James Cagney in Footlight Parade

Hi to all those visiting my blog! I haven’t been around here much lately, and I’m afraid my projected themes fell by the wayside… though I might still resurrect them. But, anyway, I intend to get the show back on the road with some postings about musicals and then see where the spirit takes me. I’ve been enjoying the great Busby Berkeley movies in recent months, especially as I had the opportunity to see Footlight Parade during the pre-Code festival at the BFI in London earlier this year. This was also the first opportunity I’ve ever had to see a James Cagney film on the big screen – I’ve seen just about all his films, bar a couple of TV productions. but only on the small screen ( in many cases on Youtube). It was a revelation to see those spectacular Berkeley numbers as they should be seen – and I have more big-screen joy coming up next month, when Ipswich Film Society plans a screening of Gold Diggers of 1933. 

In the meantime, I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on an imported TCM mini set in their Greatest Classic Films series, thanks to my daughter who gave it to me for my birthday. On two double-sided discs, it contains the aforementioned Footlight Parade, 42nd Street, and two lesser-known Berkeley films, Dames and Gold Diggers of 1937.  Some films in this TCM series are coded for region 1 only, while others are region free – but luckily, although I’m in the UK, I do have the ability to watch multi-region. A big bonus is that these DVDs have lots of special features, including trailers and featurettes. too. Just wondering, what are anyone’s favourite Berkeley musicals? I especially love 42nd Street, but am looking forward to discovering some of his lesser-known offerings. Watch this space for a review of Gold Diggers of 1937 coming up in the next couple of days.

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6 thoughts on “Busby Berkeley musicals

  1. Great to have you back and on such a happy topic. Glad you got a chance to se one on the big screen. The inventiveness of Busby Berkeley is fantastic. And like the Astaire/Rogers musicals , his films were full of fabulous songs.I love Cagney singing ‘Shanghai Lil’.

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    • Yes, it was wonderful – I was lucky enough to see a few pre-Codes at the BFI earlier this year, but it was especially great to see this musical in that format. I wish more classic films fans could get the chance to see it in a cinema!

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    • Wow, I will need to watch ‘Dames’ very soon – it’s in my DVD set so I will put it top of my list to get to! A send-up of the Code sounds like a must. Thanks, G.O.M., and many apologies here too for being so late in responding to your comment.

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