Footlight Parade

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Jimmy Cagney creates prologues for movies and falls for a dancer. All ends well. What more do you need?

Otterbro and the Mermaid were visiting, and we had already been carousing at the local pub for several hours, talking about a lot of things, including the fact that they had been watching a lot of Jimmy Cagney movies.

Any of his musicals or comedies? we asked.

No, they said, just his gangster stuff.

You are so missing a treat, we said, and when we got home we all watched this, and Yankee Doodle Dandy the next night. We all loved it, although the Mermaid and I were horrified to realize that we had eaten a WHOLE BOX OF SAMOAS by ourselves…don’t do this at home, kids!

Cagney is great in this, a brash hoofer who gets the idea to use the dancers and props from a nearly-defunct theater group to put on prologues for the very same silent pictures that were putting them out of business. And these are the dance numbers, especially the last three, culminating in the so-over-the-top-and-unbelieveable-it’s-screamingly-funny-but-we-love-it-anyway Shanghai Lil number, which really has to be seen; description would simply not do it justice.

Cagney is at the cop of his form; Ruby Keeler is beautiful, Mr. Otter’s Only True Love Joan Blondell is a knockout, plus Dick Powell and Guy Kibbee. This one is a total winner, don’t miss it.

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