42nd Street [Blu-ray]
(Bonnie Langford, Tom Lister, Clare Halse, Philip Bertioli, et al / Blu-ray / NR / (2019) 2021 / Liberator Films - MVD Visual)
Overview: 42nd Street is the Broadway song and dance musical extravaganza, and in the shows largest ever staging entertainment does not get bigger than this!
Peggy Sawyer is from small-town America and just a face in the chorus line of Pretty Lady, the new show from legendary director Julian Marsh.
But when the shows leading lady, Dorothy Brock is injured, Peggy’s dreams of stardom just may come true.
Blu-ray Verdict: In truth, once you get past all the British actors doing American 1930s accents and settle into the familiar story, this is a solid and enjoyable production.
Oh, and also have to get past this version of Dorothy Brock (Langford) being at least a decade too old for the part!
That said, as expected, given her background, Langford sings great as Dorothy, but seems likes she is doing an impression of Andrea Martin, for some strange reason!
Her Brock is too old and too nasty, which makes her gracious exit a bit hard to believe. Faring better is Tom Lister as the frantic Julian as he is also the only cast member who actually warmly over acts; which matches his singing voice rather perfectly.
Peggy Sawyer is portrayed by a semi-frumpy Clare Halse (it may be just the hideous wig) who never quite captures that star quality the show is all about, but she does her best, for sure.
She tap dances better than she sings, which is a great trait to have, especially in a show such as this one, but she seems too short (it was said by others viewing this BR also, so there you have it!).
But Philip Bertioli is a joyous Billy who brings a much needed pizazz to his character and his dancing is bloody excellent. Also noteworthy is Jasna Ivir as Maggie the producer as she brings a big Tessie OShea energy to the show.
The music of Harry Warren and Al Dubin is timeless and it is a joy to hear and the dancing numbers are very well done. And although some of the cuts to close-ups are quite jarring, overall, this version of the wondrously renowned 42nd Street is a pure unadulterated joy to behold.
The 1933 film starred Bebe Daniels, Warner Baxter, Ruby Keeler, and Dick Powell and is a classic, of course, and the original 1980 Broadway production starred Tammy Grimes, Jerry Orbach, Wanda Richert, Lee Roy Reams, and Carole Cook and instantly became the bench mark for those that followed. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.