42nd Street (1933) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Apr-2003

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Musical Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Biographies-Crew
Notes-Coda
Featurette-Harry Warren: America's Foremost Composer
Featurette-Trip Through A Hollywood Studio
Featurette-Hollywood Newsreel
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1933
Running Time 89:10
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Lloyd Bacon
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Warner Baxter
Bebe Daniels
George Brent
Ruby Keeler
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Harry Warren


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    42nd Street is a simple story of the making of a musical stage show, so is effectively one of those "show within a show" movies. The story begins with ill director Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter) preparing what may be his last stage musical show. The group of chorus girls and other cast members are organised, including main star Dorothy Brock (Bebe Daniels) and new chorus girl Peggy Sawyer (Ruby Keeler). There are five weeks of rehearsals before the opening night, and all involved are pushed to the limit to get things right for the night.

    Things go wrong when Dorothy breaks her ankle the evening before the premiere, and a new star needs to be found. Of course, the inexperienced Peggy Sawyer is thrust into the limelight to become the new star.

    I did not find this movie boring, but did not find it particularly compelling either. The most interesting parts were just getting an idea of how musical productions were made back then (apparently the movie is a very authentic take on the process), and how differently people of the early 1900's spoke and carried themselves. Almost every male spoke in a strange, high strained voice, and the women all seemed so innocent. In fact, the whole cast projects a sort of innocence that is certainly not present in modern movies.

    The music and songs are not too bad, but certainly are no match for those produced by Rogers and Hammerstein.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is satisfactory for a movie that is around 70 years old.

    The movie is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (full-frame), which differs slightly from the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.37:1, and is a black and white feature. Note that this is an NTSC transfer, and so your equipment will need to be NTSC compatible to view it.

    Sharpness varies throughout the movie, ranging from very sharp in some scenes to extremely fuzzy in others. Some short scenes at the start of the movie (eg. 1:30) appear very sharp and clear, but are ruined by following scenes that are distinctly soft and grainy. There are not many dark scenes in the movie, but in those scenes that are lowly lit, the shadow detail is lacking and definitely not up to the standards of today. Black levels aren't too bad, but this is quite hard to judge with a black and white movie. The blacks certainly did not appear dull, greyish, or brownish so this is a good thing. Grain is visible throughout the majority of the movie, with some scenes particularly affected.

    Being a black and white movie, colour assessment does not apply. The blacks and whites in the movie are satisfactory. Some brightness flickering in the opening scenes and some cases during the movie are distracting.

    Film artefacts are a given when describing a movie of this age. Black and white flecks, lines, and scratches appear frequently, and are mildly distracting. I found that I was more forgiving knowing the age of the movie. I could not detect any instances of edge enhancement, but aliasing occurred once or twice.

    English and French subtitles are provided. The English subtitles are fairly accurate.

    This is a single sided, single layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    A Dolby Digital 1.0 (192 Kb/s) mono soundtrack is provided, and is probably as good as it can sound without major remastering.

    Dialogue is usually clear with no audio synchronisation issues, but at times exhibits some crackling sounds and hiss. The crackling sound and hiss also extend to the music, and both also sound muffled on occasion.

    Being a mono track, there is no stereo separation, no surround speaker usage, and no subwoofer involvement. The lack of subwoofer activity isn't that big an issue due to the movie type, but some stereo or surround separation would have been nice.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Cast & Crew

    Simply some notes on the cast and crew.

Coda

    Some information regarding the opening of the Broadway musical in 1980.

Featurette - Harry Warren: America's Foremost Composer - 9:09

    Harry Warren and the cast provide a musical number.

Featurette - Trip Through A Hollywood Studio - 10:06

    A fairly interesting short documentary describing the various studios in existence at that time (eg. Universal, Warner Bros, Fox).

Featurette - Hollywood Newsreel - 8:57

    Describes a football team's trip to a Hollywood studio and their activities.

Theatrical Trailer

    A voiceover describes small aspects of the making of the movie, and introduces the main stars.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Both the Region 1 and Region 4 versions of this DVD appear identical.

Summary

    42nd Street is an interesting look at how stage musicals and movies themselves were made back in the early 1900's. It was interesting from my point of view in just seeing how different the culture was compared to modern times. People certainly acted and spoke differently. The movie itself is simple, but may bore most modern audiences today.

    The video quality is satisfactory for its age.

    The audio quality is satisfactory, but some stereo separation would have been nice.

    The extras are nothing particularly memorable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Chanh-Khai Ly (My biodegradable bio)
Tuesday, August 05, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP500, using Component output
DisplayRK-32HDP81 HDTV. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600
SpeakersKef KHT 2005 5.1 Home Theatre System

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
Web Wombat - John K

Comments (Add) NONE