Busby Berkeley
Tribute by Jeffrey Sward
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Busby Berkeley (1895-1976) was one of the most imaginative and innovative choreographers and directors in motion picture history. Busby is most noted for extravagant musical production numbers featuring dozens of female dancers forming geometric patterns. Many motion picture cinematography techniques were pioneered by Busby, such as ceiling shots and moveable camera positions, especially using cranes.

Per Martin Rubin in Showstoppers, the characteristics of Busby Berkeley motion pictures include:

  • Large number of chorus girls in geometrical formations
  • Overhead shots that form kaleidoscopic patterns
  • An impression of extravagance and excess in setting and camera work
  • Extended and spectacular crane shots
  • Stylized uses of the female body in abstract and object-like ways
  • Elements of fetishistic eroticism
  • Use of giant multiple bizarre props

Busby Berkeley was also responsible for several memorable long take sequences.

Visit Busby Berkeley's film list at imdb.

Visit the Classic Movie Favorites Busby Berkeley site.

Motion pictures which contain choreography by Busby Berkeley.

  • Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
  • The Kid from Spain (1932)
  • Roman Scandals (1933)
  • 42nd Street (1933)
  • Footlight Parade (1933)
  • Dames (1934)
  • Fashions of 1934 (1934)
  • Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  • Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936)
  • Broadway Serenade (1939)
  • Hollywood Hotel (1937)
  • Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
  • Lady Be Good (1941)
  • Two Tickets to Broadway (1951)
  • Million Dollar Mermaid (1952)
  • Small Town Girl (1953)



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