Monday, June 10, 2013

Now Playing: JUNE 10, 1933

A confident Warner Bros. has a follow-up to this spring's big hit 42nd Street ready for release little more than three months after the prior picture changed the face of musicals.


Some exaggeration is going on. The ad claims 12 big stars but I count only eight. The trailer isn't very helpful on this score, but it's something to look at, and has got it.

TCM also has this film's show-stopper, "Remember My Forgotten Man." That Warners would use a big musical extravaganza to make this kind of social commentary makes this a definitive Pre-Code moment.

How does anyone compete with this? Paramount Pictures, at least, agreed with Warners that quantity equaled quality.


And you know what? A lot of people will say that this, too, is a masterpiece of its kind. And it has an ultimate Pre-Code moment of its own -- Cab Calloway singing "Reefer Man." GodGaveUsCannibis gave us this copy of the clip.

All right, then: how do you compete with them? The Garden's attraction may have had a fighting chance if the studio had left it alone.

The ad copy echoes the movie's original title. Walking Down Broadway was to have been Erich Von Stroheim's belated debut as a talkie director, but to the surprise of few Fox sacked him and largely reshot the picture.

Meanwhile, M-G-M tries for class -- with the usual Pre-Code spin.

And the Alhambra decides that the best answer to Busby Berkeley is a live stage show.

I give them credit for "Dusky Devastators of Depression." They don't write ad copy like that anymore. And there's a movie, too, an RKO melodrama about stuntmen. Overall, a lot to see in Milwaukee eighty years ago this week.

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