42nd Street (1933)
Screenwriter(s): Rian James, James Seymour
“It’s My Last Show and It’s Got To Be My Best” – Words of Assurance from a Broadway Director
Producers Jones (Robert McWade) and Barry (Ned Sparks) planned to stagePretty Lady – a Broadway musical, despite the Depression, and they had hired the well-known “musical comedy director” Julian Marsh (Warner Baxter). In close-up, the unseen director signed the Jones/Barry contract. Bankrupt and broke from the Stock Market Crash in 1929, a wild-eyed Marsh was only interested in recouping his economic fortunes (“Money!”). The haggard and ill Marsh assured his producers of his strength:
You’ll get your Pretty Lady. You haven’t got anything to worry about. I’m not gonna let you down because I can’t afford to. I’ve given everything I’ve had to that gulch down there and it’s taken all I had to offer. Oh, it paid me, sure, in money I couldn’t hang on to – fair-weather friends, women, headlines! Hah! Why even the cops and the newsboys recognize me on sight. ‘Marsh, the Magnificent.’ ‘Marsh the Slave-Driver!’ Actors tell ya how Marsh drove ’em and bullied ’em and even tore it out of ’em! And maybe there’s a few that’ll tell ya how Marsh really made ’em. And they’ve all got somethin’ to show for it – except Marsh.
Well, this is my last shot! I’ll make a few more actors. But this time, I’m gonna sock my money away so hard that they’ll have to blast to find enough to buy a newspaper. That’s why I’m goin’ ahead with Pretty Lady. And Pretty Lady‘s got to be a hit. It’s my last show and it’s got to be my best. You’re counting on me. Well, I’m counting on Pretty Lady, because it’s got to support me for a long time to come.