The Allure of Fame, Sex, and Success

  In the film 42 Street a legendary director, Marsh, takes on his final project.  He decides to defy society’s standards and create an erotic musical.  Throughout this movie, sex is talked about more openly than ever before.  Sex is constantly explored in this movie.  It can be seen in Dorothy’s fling with the producer which was very scandalous for that time period.  The viewer could also see the discussion of sex in the contents of the musical, as well as in the character Anytime Annie.  Even innocent Peggy Sawyer was entangled in the theme of sex.  Her brief romance with Pat implied his sexual desire when she fell asleep in his apartment.  42nd Street makes sex a conversation for the dinner table instead of a conversation only talked about intimately between a husband and wife.

  The movie 42nd Street started a new genre of film.  Peggy Sawyer became the epitome of the underdog character in film.  This stereotypical character is one who does not necessarily get her break right away, but some disaster occurs in which this underdog gets another chance.  The audience is then routing for this stagnant character, until she becomes a star.  Peggy is the personification of this plot line.  When 42nd Street was created, this new story was innovative, but now this story reiterates an overused cliche.  Peggy Sawyer embodies a desire that every person has; a desire to be successful.  This is why this stereotype is so successful and so well-loved.  Viewers relate to this character and want her to be successful and to live out a life that they themselves cannot live.

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One thought on “The Allure of Fame, Sex, and Success

  1. Lizzie, your argument paragraph is pretty good but your thesis isn’t that great. 42nd Street did not start a new genre of film, or even a new kind of musical. The theme of the aspiring ingenue is very old. It predates film. But you could look at Peggy’s story as an interesting variation, or find something else that makes Peggy unique. 9/10, JB.

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