"Sawyer, you're going out a youngster but you've got to come back a star!". Those are the abridged words used by Warner Baxter to inspire Ruby Keeler as she is about to make her stage debut.
"42nd Street" today would seem cliche' ridden, but this is one of the films that created that cliche of big musical production numbers. In 1928, MGM's "The Broadway Melody" won the Best Picture Oscar at the 2nd Annual Academy Awards.
It was the first musical, but it did not set a trend for the future genre.
"42nd Street" was a trend setting musical, that unlike "Broadway Melody" still has many entertaining qualities, however quaint it might seem today. Every musical that followed on film for a generation ultimately owes "42nd Street". It is an essential film in the evolution of sound and music in an industry that had only known sound and music for six years.