This is an extraordinary Blu-ray of an extraordinary film, which should be in every serious collection, containing some of the greatest Berkeley set pieces ever filmed. 4 Stars

It truly does not get any better than this.

Footlight Parade, the Lloyd Bacon directed musical extravaganza, photographed by George Barnes and choreographed by Busby Berkeley, once again looks much as it did at its premiere in 1933.

The Wizards of WB, have taken a recently produced fine grain master, derived from the almost 90 year-old nitrate camera negative, and taken it back to perfection.

The grain structure is velvety, gaining a bit at dupes, which are short cut. Black levels, shadow detail, are both meticulously rendered.

Footlight Parade is probably the perfect introduction to the Warner Bros. musicals of the ’30s, even though it was his third for the studio, after 42nd Street and Gold Diggers (both also 1933).

The film is a veritable who’s who of WB talent –

James Cagney, proving that he really could dance;

Joan Blondell;

Ruby Keeler, proving that she really couldn’t dance;

Dick Powell

and

William Keighley, before he graduated to directing some of the great Cagney and Flynn vehicles, as dialogue coach.

This is an extraordinary Blu-ray of an extraordinary film, which should be in every serious collection, containing some of the greatest Berkeley set pieces ever filmed.

Want more classics from Warner Archive?

Put your money…

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from DVD – You’d better believe it!

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

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I have already pre-ordered both FOOTLIGHT PARADE & THE THIN MAN from the WB shop (as I also did for GASLIGHT & the POPEYE sets) as I believe in spending my money where it will make the best impression.

From Mr. Harris' description of the forthcoming Blu, it sounds as if I may need to wear sunglasses during some of the more glittery dance sequences.
 

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RAH forgot to point out that Keeler couldn't sing either. Flat footed, flat voice. Thank heavens for Cagney and Blondell (Powell had to wait another decade to receive accolades).
 

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RAH forgot to point out that Keeler couldn't sing either. Flat footed, flat voice. Thank heavens for Cagney and Blondell (Powell had to wait another decade to receive accolades).
Ruby Keeler was married to Al Jolson. She didn't have to sing or dance.
 

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You folks are being rather unkind to poor Ruby Keeler, whose singing wasn’t as particularly as bad as her co-stars (Joan Blondell couldn’t carry a single note and speak-sang most of her songs), and whose dancing was buck-and-wing, a style of wooden-soles hoofing admittedly better heard on the stage than dubbed with tap in a Hollywood film.

But for those who haven’t seen it, FOOTLIGHT PARDE is the quintessential Berkeley musical, with his best choreography, and Al Dubin and Harry Warren’s best songs. When you consider that Berkeley was double-shift directing between this film and ROMAN SCANDALS at Goldwyn (another great Dubin-Warren musical we may never see on Blu), this is his work-horse masterpiece. Not a note of the film is sour.
 

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You folks are being rather unkind to poor Ruby Keeler, whose singing wasn’t as particularly as bad as her co-stars (Joan Blondell couldn’t carry a single note and speak-sang most of her songs), and whose dancing was buck-and-wing, a style of wooden-soles hoofing admittedly better heard on the stage than dubbed with tap in a Hollywood film.

But for those who haven’t seen it, FOOTLIGHT PARDE is the quintessential Berkeley musical, with his best choreography, and Al Dubin and Harry Warren’s best songs. When you consider that Berkeley was double-shift directing between this film and ROMAN SCANDALS at Goldwyn (another great Dubin-Warren musical we may never see on Blu), this is his work-horse masterpiece. Not a note of the film is sour.
It's our opinion and you're welcome to yours. As to Joan Blondell, well, she had other talents that some of us appreciate more than her singing and dancing talents.;)
 

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Ruby Keeler was married to Al Jolson. She didn't have to sing or dance.
The reality is, that audiences more than approved.

And went to see her pictures.

Some of best musicals of the era.

But most important, as to the image quality of Footlight Parade, I’ll quote someone whose words express my thoughts perfectly...

"Wait a minute, wait a minute I tell yer, you ain't heard nothin' yet"
 
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However folks want to grade her talents, I like Ruby in those Berkeley films. There's a down-to-earth quality about her that helps to ground the show-biz pizazz and make it seem more accessible. I don't quite think I'd like the films as much without her. Plus, I always thought she had a pretty good attitude towards her talents and her career, as I recall from visiting with her once at a gathering at the Sunset Towers a number of years back. She gets a thumbs-up from me.
 

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Ruby Keeler was likeable, & in movies, that means more than dancing or singing or acting.
Exactly, that's the quality that appealed to movie audiences back then.
 

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Yes, I never understood the appeal of Ruby Keeler either. Love many of the movies she is in, but definitely not because of her contributions in them. Dick Powell - yes. Joan Blondell - definitely. And Cagney - wow. Berkeley? How could you not?!?! But Keeler. Hmmm. By a waterfall, perhaps - or rather, underneath it!

PS - cannot wait for this release as well as the rest of WAC's July output. Please, please, please - more, more, more!!!
 

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Yes, I never understood the appeal of Ruby Keeler either. Love many of the movies she is in, but definitely not because of her contributions in them. Dick Powell - yes. Joan Blondell - definitely. And Cagney - wow. Berkeley? How could you not?!?! But Keeler. Hmmm. By a waterfall, perhaps - or rather, underneath it!

PS - cannot wait for this release as well as the rest of WAC's July output. Please, please, please - more, more, more!!!
Although my lips must remain sealed, I believe your desires will be met.
 

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Ruby Keeler was likeable, & in movies, that means more than dancing or singing or acting.
All joking aside, I loved Ruby Keeler when I was a child, and even today--though her dancing is awkward and her singing regrettable--I still feel that emotional identification when I watch 42ND STREET, which until the 16th of this month, when FOOTLIGHT PARADE ships, was the only film from the 1930's to be released in Blu-ray by Warner Archive during the past four years. (I'm not complaining. It's just that single disc in my collection was getting lonely.)

btw, I saw Ms. Keeler on Broadway in "No, No Nanette" and while her singing and dancing hadn't improved over the years, her warmth and likability was even stronger then before. She had a glow about her, even more palpable in person than on screen; you cared what happened to her, and that is that.