Footlight Parade is a 1933 American musical film starring James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell and featuring Frank McHugh, Guy Kibbee, Hugh Herbert and Ruth Donnelly. The movie was written by Manuel Seff and James Seymour from a story by Robert Lord and Peter Milne. It was directed by Lloyd Bacon.
The spectacular Busby Berkeley musical numbers, written by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics) and Sammy Fain (music) and Irving Kahal (lyrics), include "By a Waterfall", "Honeymoon Hotel", and "Shanghai Lil".
In 1992, Footlight Parade was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Chester Kent (James Cagney) replaces his failing career as a director of Broadway musicals with a new one as the creator of musical numbers called "prologues," short live stage productions presented in movie theaters before the main feature is shown. He faces pressure from his business partners to constantly create a large number of marketable prologues to service theaters throughout the country, but his job is made harder by a rival who is stealing his ideas, probably with assistance from someone working inside his company. Kent is so overwhemed with work that he doesn't that realize his secretary, Nan (Joan Blondell), has fallen in love with him, and is doing her best to protect him.
Kent's business partners announce that they have a big deal pending with the Apolinaris theater circuit, but getting the contract depends on Kent impressing Mr. Apolinaris with three spectacular prologues, presented on the same night, one after another at three different theatres. Kent then stages "Honeymoon Hotel", "By a Waterfall", featuring the famous 'Human Waterfall', and "Shanghai Lil", featuring Cagney and Ruby Keeler dancing together.
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