Great Depression Themes in 42nd Street Essay

This essay has a total of 732 words and 3 pages.

Great Depression Themes in 42nd Street

Great Depression Themes in 42nd Street

Seen through a particular light and given specific occasions in the film, we can see how
42nd Street echoes the general attitudes of the Great Depression. Particular characters in
the film exemplify the wealthy citizens of the time, the common laborer, and Julian Marsh
(Warner Baxter) portrays a life-force, Franklin Roosevelt, bringing hope along with his
New Deal. Throughout the film, there is a dichotomy exhibited through the members of
the production and the financiers, namely Abner Dillon. He represents the side of
competitive capitalism, while the actors stand for a community. The actors identify with
each other because they are all in the same situation and each need the job to survive.
Abner, on the other hand, has the money to throw around whimsically, for the difficulties
facing the nation do not have the devastating effect on the wealthy that they have on
other classes. Hard times have fallen on the nation and they realize that it will take a
group effort to pull themselves out of the Depression. While the competition is cut-throat
and individualized off of the set, as we see with Dorothy Brach's arrangement with Abner
Dillon, the sense of collectivity is emphasized on stage.

Leading the march against the depression and maintaining the collective voice, is Julian
Marsh. He can be equated with Franklin Roosevelt his work ethic can be seen as a
reflection of the New Deal. As Roosevelt gave hope, optimism, and unity to the nation;
Marsh gives the same to the cast members of 42nd Street.
Continues for 2 more pages >>