James Cagney is a Broadway producer who's seen better days, when a new job falls in his lap: making "prologues", complex live dance numbers to appear before movies. When he discovers that a rival is stealing his ideas, and that a Broadway producer wants him for a new show, Cagney locks his performers in a room in order to have his needed secrecy. Cagney campaigned to win the lead, eager to work with Berkeley (and break from his gangster persona). Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, and Ruby Keeler provide the rapid-fire laughs and the songs, but the star is Berkeley's insane choreography, including the famous "By a Waterfall" featuring over 100 dancers cavorting nearly naked in a vast swimming pool.
35mm print courtesy The Library of Congress