John Landis on

42nd Street

Released 1933
Distributor Warner Bros.

Produced in the midst of the great depression, director Lloyd Bacon’s pre-code crowd-pleaser doesn’t ignore the grim cloud hanging over the country. The film’s dramatic elements could easily have tipped over to tragedy but Bacon’s choreographer (and unofficial co-director) Busby Berkeley devised a series of phantasmagorical dance sequences (including the 20 minute finale) that transported the downcast ticket-buyers of 1933 to a happier place (at least for 89 minutes). Starring Warner Baxter, Dick Powell and a dazzling Ginger Rogers.

About John Landis

John Landis is the director of Animal HouseThe Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In LondonTrading PlacesComing To America, Kentucky Fried MovieSpies Like UsThree Amigos!Into The Night and Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and the recent Burke and Hare for Ealing Studios,  among many other films and television shows. His documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project premiered on HBO and won an Emmy for Best Music, Comedy or Variety Special.  He is also the subject of noted film critic Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan’s recent book “John Landis” and his own book “Monsters in the Movies’ was published to critical and popular acclaim in 2012.