This screenplay of 42nd Street, along with Rocco Fumento's thorough and engrossing introduction, takes the reader behind the scenes to see how the Warners studio took a dismal novel and, working within severe financial constraints brought on by the Great Depression, turned out a smash musical hit.
42nd Street is a watershed film, one that resuscitated the Hollywood musical during troubled times. Yet 42nd Street wasn't merely a Depression tonic, its multiple plot line was half-comic, half-serious. It was a fast-paced, energetic, and the first musical not to shrink away from the fact that a Depression was going on. The film is an odd, and oddly successful, fusion of the real with the fantastic.