I, of course, love Warner Baxter and George Brent. And Bebe Daniels, whose star faded pretty soon after 42nd Street, is just fabulous in this film - her drunk scene is absolutely amazing.
I am also a fan of Dick Powell, and the supporting cast is pretty uniformly good, but Ruby Keeler? She's awful. I am probably going to see Gold Diggers of 1933 in a week or two, and she's in that too, so I guess I will have another chance to see what she can do, but so far I just don't get it. She's flat and boring and just not that interesting. She dances beautifully, but next to a diva like Bebe Daniels, she looks like someone who could never have made it as a Hollywood star.
The important thing here is that the synopsis of this film says it is a Dick Powell-Ruby Keeler romance. It's not. It's a backstage musical with a single Busby Berkeley, ten storylines, and a romantic plot about George Brent and Bebe Daniels (which is actually interesting).
Lest I sound like too much of a curmudgeon, 42nd Street did give us this fabulous song, and for that we should be grateful: