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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 20,000-gallon-per-minute waterfall. Curtain up!
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