Busby Berkeley had no formal dance or choreography training. He started his career in the army during World War I coordinating marching drills for as many as 1200 troops at a time. After the army he worked in the theater for a decade before finally coming to Hollywood to direct movie musicals. “Gold Diggers,” “42nd Street” and “Dames” are some of his most famous films. Here is a spectacularly trippy dance number from the 1934 film “Dames.”
I bet 39,000 of my 40,000 favorite movies are musicals. It seems to me the economic times are right for musicals to make a big comeback but I doubt they ever will. We’ve gotten too cynical. Besides, I imagine Busby Berkeley numbers would be accomplished by CGI effects these days which would suck all the magic out of it. All I have to say is thank goodness for the slave wages, the female exploitation, and the tyrannical and abusive directors of the olden days or we’d have nothing pretty to look at today!