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Thursday, December 15

(1933, Lloyd Bacon) Running-on-nerves director Warner Baxter gives the pep talk to understudy Ruby Keeler after temperamental star Bebe Daniels breaks that ankle. With three of Berkeley’s most iconic numbers. 35mm print preserved by Library of Congress. Approx. 90 mins.


“Invariably entertaining! An excellent example of stagecraft! The liveliest and one of the most tuneful screen musical comedies that has come out of Hollywood […], a film which reveals the forward strides made in this particular medium since the first screen musical features came to Broadway.”
– M.H., The New York Times

“The artistry of Berkeley remains one of the wonders of the cinema. Few filmmakers have such an instantly recognizable style. […] It’s worth celebrating his work today for its manifestly ecstatic surfaces as well as for its secretly pithy substance.”
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

“Reviving the musical's fortunes in one fell swoop, Bacon and Busby Berkeley's backstage saga set the benchmark for the putting-on-a-show subgenre not by means of plot […] but through sassy songs and dialogue and dazzling mise-en-scène….Berkeley choreographs chorines and camera with mischievous dexterity.”
– Geoff Andrew, Time Out (London)

“A GRAND AND GLORIOUS MOVIE! Berkeley also conceived the storylines that gave his numbers coherence and momentum […] shooting the numbers that would cement his reputation as an innovator. Moviegoers had never seen anything like it before.”
– Leonard Maltin, Indiewire

“The primary source of the backstage musical clichés!”
– Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Film Forum