Directed by Lloyd Bacon • 1933 • United States
Starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler
FOOTLIGHT PARADE is sheer cinematic joy. In this Depression-era romp, a timid stenographer (Ruby Keeler) removes her glasses and—wow!—she’s a star. A gee-whiz tenor (Dick Powell) asserts his independence. Plucky chorines tap, greedy hangers-on get their comeuppances, and an indefatigable producer/dancer (James Cagney) and his girl Friday (Joan Blondell) work showbiz miracles to stage live prologues for talkie houses to keep their company afloat during hard times. “Honeymoon Hotel,” “By a Waterfall,” and “Shanghai Lil” are the shows, directed by Busby Berkeley and filled with imagination-bending sets, startling camera angles, kaleidoscopic pageantry, and a twenty-thousand-gallon-per-minute waterfall. Curtain up!