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Encyclopedia > Busby Berkeley
Kaleidoscopic Choreography from Footlight Parade, 1933
Kaleidoscopic Choreography from Footlight Parade, 1933

Busby Berkeley (November 29, 1895March 14, 1976), born William Berkeley Enos in Los Angeles, California, was a highly influential Hollywood movie director and musical choreographer. Image File history File links Footlight. ... Image File history File links Footlight. ... Kaleidoscopic Choreography from Footlight Parade, 1933 Footlight Parade is a 1933 musical film which tells the story of a man (James Cagney) struggling to replace his earlier career as a Broadway musical producer with a new career as a creator of short musical numbers called prologues, presented in movie theaters... Year 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... November 29 is the 333rd (in leap years the 334th) day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1895 (MDCCCXCV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar). ... For the Lebanese political coalition, see March 14 Alliance. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Nickname: City of Angels Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates: State California County Los Angeles County Incorporated April 4, 1850 Government Type mayor-council  - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D)  - City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo  - Governing body City Council Area    - City  498. ... ... The musical film is a film genre in which several songs sung by the characters are interwoven into the narrative. ... Choreography (also known as dance composition) is the art of making structures in which movement occurs, the term composition may also refer to the navigation or connection of these movement structures. ...


Berkeley was famous for his elaborate musical production numbers that often involved complex geometric patterns. Berkeley's quintessential works used legions of showgirls and props as fantastic elements in kaleidoscopic on-screen performances. He started up as a theatrical director, just as many other movie directors. Unlike many of them at that time, he felt that a camera should be allowed mobility, and he framed shots carefully from unusual angles to allow movie audiences to see things from perspectives that the theatrical stage never could provide. This is why he played an enormous role in establishing the movie musical as a category in its own right. A Las Vegas showgirl, from the Folies Bergere. ...

Contents

Career

He made his stage debut at five, acting in the company of his performing family. During World War I, Berkeley served as a field artillery lieutenant, where he learned the intricacies of drilling and disciplining large groups of people. During the 1920s, Berkeley was a dance director for nearly two dozen Broadway musicals, including such hits as ‘A Connecticut Yankee’. As a choreographer, Berkeley was less concerned with the terpsichorean skill of his chorus girls as he was with their ability to form themselves into attractive geometric patterns. His musical numbers were among the largest and best-regimented on Broadway. The only way they'd get any larger was if Berkeley moved to films, which he did the moment films learned to talk. Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Robert Nivelle Herbert Henry Asquith Sir Douglas Haig Sir John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna Armando Diaz Woodrow... Broadway theatre[1] is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. ...


His earliest movie gigs were on Samuel Goldwyn's Eddie Cantor musicals, where he began developing such techniques as a "parade of faces" (individualising each chorus girl with a loving close-up), and moving his dancers all over the stage (and often beyond) in as many kaleidoscopic patterns as possible. Berkeley's legendary top shot technique (the kaleidoscope again, this time shot from overhead) first appeared seminally in the Cantor films, and also the 1932 Universal programmer Night World. His numbers were known for starting out in the realm of the stage, but quickly exceeding this space by moving into a time and place that could only be cinematic, only to return to shots of an applauding audience and the fall of a curtain. As choreographer, Berkeley was allowed a certain degree of independence in his direction of musical numbers, and they were often markedly distinct from (and sometimes in contrast to) the narrative sections of the films. The numbers he choreographed were mostly upbeat and focused on decoration as opposed to substance; one exception to this is the number "Remember My Forgotten Man" from Gold Diggers of 1933, which dealt with the treatment of soldiers in a post-world-war I Depression. // Samuel Goldwyn (July, 1879, Warsaw, Poland – January 31, 1974, Los Angeles, California, United States) was a widely known motion picture producer and founding contributor of several motion picture studios. ... Eddie Cantor in the 1920s Eddie Cantor (January 31, 1892 - October 10, 1964) was a comedian, singer, actor, songwriter, and one of the most popular entertainers in the United States of America in the early and middle 20th century. ... The current Universal Studios logo Universal Studios (sometimes called Universal Pictures or, officially, Universal City Studios), a subsidiary of NBC Universal, is one of the major American film studios that has production studios and offices located at 100 Universal City Plaza Drive in Universal City, California, an unincorporated area of... The Night World is a series of nine YA novels by LJ Smith, revolving around a modern world where many supernatural races have in fact existed alongside humanity for thousands of years. ... Gold Diggers of 1933 is an American musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with choreography by Busby Berkeley. ...


Berkeley's popularity with an entertainment-hungry Great Depression audience was secured in 1933, when he choreographed three musicals back-to-back for Warner Brothers: 42nd Street, Footlight Parade and the aformentioned Gold Diggers of 1933. Berkeley's innovative and often sexually-charged dance numbers have been analyzed at length by cinema scholars. In particular, the numbers have been critiqued for their display (and some say exploitation) of the female form as seen through the "male gaze"; and for their depiction of collectivism (as opposed to traditionally American rugged individualism) in the spirit of Roosevelt's New Deal. However, Berkeley himself always denied any deep significance to his work, arguing that his main professional goals were to constantly top himself and to never repeat his past accomplishments. The Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn which started in October of 1929 and lasted through most of the 1930s. ... Warner Bros. ... 42nd Street is a 1933 musical movie, set on the famous Manhattan street of that name, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. ... Kaleidoscopic Choreography from Footlight Parade, 1933 Footlight Parade is a 1933 musical film which tells the story of a man (James Cagney) struggling to replace his earlier career as a Broadway musical producer with a new career as a creator of short musical numbers called prologues, presented in movie theaters...


As the outsized musicals in which Berkeley specialised became passé, he turned to straight directing, begging Warners to give him a chance at drama; the result was 1939's They Made Me a Criminal, one of John Garfield's best films. Berkeley's drive for perfection led to a number of well-publicised run-ins with MGM stars such as Judy Garland. In 1943, he was removed as director of Girl Crazy because of disagreements with Garland, although the lavish musical number "I Got Rhythm", which he directed, remained in the picture. (Hugh Fordin, The World of Entertainment: The Freed Unit at MGM, 1975) They Made Me a Criminal is a 1939 Warner Bros. ... John Garfield John Garfield (born March 4, 1913 in New York City; died May 21, 1952 in New York City) was an American actor. ... Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an Oscar-nominated American film actress, considered by many to be one of the greatest singing stars of Hollywoods Golden Era of musical film, best known for her role as Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of... Girl Crazy is a theater musical with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and book by Guy Bolton and John McGowan. ... George Gershwin photograph by Edward Steichen in 1927. ...


His next stop was at 20th Century-Fox for 1943's The Gang's All Here, in which Berkeley choreographed Carmen Miranda's outrageous ‘Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat’ number. The film made money, but Berkeley and the Fox brass didn't see eye to eye over budget matters. Berkeley returned to MGM in the late 1940s, where among many other accomplishments he conceived the Technicolor finales for the studio's Esther Williams films. Berkeley's final film as choreographer was MGM's Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962). 20th Century Fox logo Fox Plaza, the company headquarters. ... The Gangs All Here is a 1943 musical film produced and released by Twentieth Century Fox. ... Carmen Miranda (February 9, 1909 – August 5, 1955); birth name Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha, GCIH) was a Portuguese-Brazilian samba singer and motion picture star most active in the 1940s. ... Logo celebrating Technicolors 90th Anniversary Technicolor is the trademark for a series of color film processes pioneered by Technicolor Motion Picture Corporation (a subsidiary of Technicolor, Inc. ... Esther Jane Williams (born August 8, 1921[1] or 1922[2]) was a United States competitive swimmer and movie star, famous for her musical films that featured elaborate performances with swimming and diving. ... Billy Roses Jumbo was a 1962 musical film, starring Jimmy Durante, Doris Day, Martha Raye, and Stephen Boyd. ...


Personal life

In private life, Berkeley was as flamboyant as his work. He went through six wives, an alienation-of-affections suit involving a prominent movie queen, and a fatal car accident which resulted in his being tried (and acquitted) for second degree murder. In the late 1960s, the camp craze brought the Berkeley musicals back into the forefront. He hit the college and lecture circuit, and even directed a 1930s-style cold tablet commercial, complete with a top shot of a dancing clock. In his 75th year, Busby Berkeley returned to Broadway to direct a successful revival of No No Nanette, starring his old Warner Brothers colleague and “42nd Street” star Ruby Keeler. No, No, Nanette is a Broadway musical first produced in 1925 by Harry Frazee, a former owner of the Boston Red Sox. ... Ruby Keeler Ruby Keeler, born Ethel Hilda Keeler, (August 25, 1909 - February 28, 1993), was an actress, singer, and dancer. ...


Berkeley died in Palm Springs, California at the age of 80 from natural causes.


Cultural References

"Busby Berkeley Dreams" is also the title of a song by the band The Magnetic Fields, and it appeared on the third disc of their triple album 69 Love Songs. Busby Berkeley is also referenced in the lyrics of "The Way You Say Goodnight" on the same album. The Magnetic Fields is a band led by the New York City singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt. ... 69 Love Songs is a three-volume concept album by The Magnetic Fields. ...


"Busby Berkeley" is used as a descriptor for "drunk" in the Venture Brothers episode "Showdown at Cremation Creek".


In the film Blazing Saddles, Dom DeLuise plays a cameo role as a director similar to Busby Berkeley. Alex Karras as Mongo in Blazing Saddles Blazing Saddles is a Warner Bros. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Ryan Stiles has been known to be subjected to some Busby Berkeley-related scenario in at least one episode of Whose Line. Ryan Lee Stiles (born April 22, 1959 in Seattle, Washington) is an Emmy-nominated Canadian-American actor and improvisational comedian. ... Whose Line Is It Anyway? is an improvised and largely unscripted comedy game show. ...


The "Miss Piggy's Fantasy" music number from The Great Muppet Caper (1981) involving Miss Piggy and a number of chorus girls are directly influenced by the aesthetic. The Great Muppet Caper is the second of a series of live-action musical feature films, starring Jim Hensons Muppets. ...


Selected works

  • A Connecticut Yankee (1927) (Broadway)
  • Whoopee! (1930) (choreographer)
  • Kiki (1931) (choreographer)
  • Palmy Days (1931) (choreographer)
  • Flying High (1931) (choreographer)
  • The Kid from Spain (1932) (choreographer)
  • 42nd Street (1933) (choreographer)
  • Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) (choreographer)
  • Footlight Parade (1933) (choreographer)
  • Roman Scandals (1933) (choreographer)
  • Fashions of 1934 (1934) (director/choreographer of musical numbers)
  • Wonder Bar (1934) (designer of musical numbers)
  • Dames (1934) (director/choreographer of musical numbers)
  • Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) (also director)
  • In Caliente (1935) (director/choreographer of musical numbers)
  • Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) (director/choreographer of musical numbers)
  • Stage Struck (1936) (director)
  • The Singing Marine (1937) (director/choreographer of musical numbers)
  • Hollywood Hotel (1937) (director)
  • Gold Diggers in Paris (1938) (director/choreographer of musical numbers)
  • They Made Me a Criminal (1939) (director)
  • Broadway Serenade (1939) (director of finale)
  • Babes in Arms (1939) (director)
  • Strike Up the Band (1940) (director)
  • Forty Little Mothers (1940) (director)
  • Ziegfeld Girl (1941) (director of musical numbers)
  • Babes on Broadway (1941) (director)
  • Lady Be Good (1941) (director of musical numbers)
  • Cabin in the Sky (1943) (director of "Shine" sequence)
  • Girl Crazy (1943 (director of "I Got Rhythm" sequence)
  • The Gang's All Here (1943) (director)
  • Cinderella Jones (1946) (director)
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game (1949) (director)
  • Romance on the High Seas (1948) (choreographer)
  • Two Weeks with Love (1950) (choreographer)
  • Call Me Mister (1951) (choreographer)
  • Two Tickets to Broadway (1951) (choreographer)
  • Million Dollar Mermaid (1952) (choreographer)
  • Small Town Girl (1953) (choreographer)
  • Easy to Love (1953) (choreographer)
  • Rose-Marie (1954) (choreographer)
  • Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962) (choreographer)
  • No, No, Nanette (1971) (production supervisor) (Broadway)

A Connecticut Yankee was a 1927 musical by Rogers and Hart, based upon A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court, a novel by American humorist Mark Twain. ... Broadway theatre[1] is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. ... Whoopee! is a Broadway musical comedy which debuted on 4 December 1928. ... Palmy Days is a 1931 movie starring Eddie Cantor, with George Raft in a supporting role as a henchman. ... 42nd Street is a 1933 musical movie, set on the famous Manhattan street of that name, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. ... Gold Diggers of 1933 is an American musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with choreography by Busby Berkeley. ... Kaleidoscopic Choreography from Footlight Parade, 1933 Footlight Parade is a 1933 musical film which tells the story of a man (James Cagney) struggling to replace his earlier career as a Broadway musical producer with a new career as a creator of short musical numbers called prologues, presented in movie theaters... Roman Scandals Roman Scandals is a 1933 film starring Eddie Cantor, Ruth Etting, and Gloria Stuart. ... A statue of an armoured knight of the Middle Ages For the chess piece, see knight (chess). ... Gold Diggers of 1935 was a Hollywood movie musical released on March 15, 1935. ... This page may refer to: Stage Struck (album), a live album by Rory Gallagher released in 1980. ... The Hollywood Hotel was a famous hostelry and landmark located on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Orchid Avenues in Hollywood, California, USA. The first section of the hotel was built in 1902 by a subdivider eager to sell residential lots among the lemon ranches then lining... They Made Me a Criminal is a 1939 Warner Bros. ... Babes in Arms is a 1937 musical theater production which tells the story of a boy who puts on a show to avoid being sent to a work farm. ... Babes on Broadway is a 1941 musical movie starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney and directed by Busby Berkeley. ... Lady Be Good is the title of an MGM musical film which was released in 1941. ... ... Girl Crazy is a theater musical with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and book by Guy Bolton and John McGowan. ... The Gangs All Here is a 1943 musical film produced and released by Twentieth Century Fox. ... Call Me Mister was a Broadway revue with sketches by Arnold Auerbach and words and music by Harold Rome. ... Million Dollar Mermaid is a 1952 MGM biographical musical film of the life of Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman. ... Small Town Girl is the debut album of country singer Kellie Pickler, which was released on October 31, 2006. ... Rose Marie (born August 15, 1923) is an actress who had a career as a child star under the name Baby Rose Marie, but is best known for her adult role as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show. ... Billy Roses Jumbo was a 1962 musical film, starring Jimmy Durante, Doris Day, Martha Raye, and Stephen Boyd. ... No, No, Nanette is an English musical comedy with lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach, music by Vincent Youmans, and a book by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Busby Berkeley - MSN Encarta (387 words)
Busby Berkeley (1895-1976), American stage and motion-picture director and dance choreographer, known for his innovative direction of lavish dance routines for the screen.
After the war, Berkeley worked as a stage actor in New York City, and by the late 1920s he was known as one of the leading dance directors on Broadway.
Berkeley then signed a contract with Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. (see Warner Bros.) in 1933 and went on to achieve great success as both a dance choreographer and a motion-picture director with films that showcased spectacular dance sequences, such as Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935).
Busby Berkeley (521 words)
Busby Berkeley accepted, and directed those great numbers like "Shuffle Off To Buffalo", "Young and Healthy" and the grandiose story of urban life, the final "42nd Street".
Busby Berkeley, as well as, the composer Harry Warren and the lyricist Al Dubin were given a seven years contract.
Berkeley was dedicated to his mother and she lived with him always.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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