Biography of Busby Berkeley (1895-1976)

Film director and choreographer American, born on November 29, 1895 in Los Angeles (California) and died on March 14, 1976 in Hollywood (California), whose real name William Berkeley Enos.


Born in the bosom of a family dedicated to the theatre, with a director father and actress mother, William had to fight against the resistance of his parents that is professionally dedicated to an unsettled world, where the work is sometimes scarce and lack of regular wages was a real problem to keep. So, joined volunteer in the army during the first world war, but the graduating decided to continue looking for work in the theatre even more diligently as a comic actor of varied musical performances.

Leap into the field of choreography would not take much to get, although his specific training in this field was non-existent and little experience as an apprentice. However, soon he/she caught the attention of specialists for his efficient handling of the rhythms of jazz and its spectacular mass onstage movements, what better to be called by the film industry in Hollywood to choreograph a large-scale musical numbers from a film that sought to break with the somewhat static schemes of the talkieswhich was just beginning its journey and, therefore, showed the difficulties for detached from the bonds imposed by the handy little registry sound. Whoopee! (1930) would open you wide the doors of the cinema, with a vehicle to the greater glory of Eddie Cantor in the Busby Berkeley demanded even occasionally directing some camera movements.

Sequences organized based on a general captured from the heights and that could see choreographic dancers braiding to suggest certain geometric shapes, along with Thomas more nearby but full of dynamism, immediately caused a backlash among the musical purists and an enthusiastic reception from the spectators and even personalities of the intellectual avant-gardefascinated by the internal rhythms that could be generated from the simple implementation in relation of an infinite number of elements moving at the same time.

Curiously, it was Warner, whose dedication to the genre was very moderate, the production company that offered the best initial opportunities to Busby Berkeley, with films such as vampire, 1933, limelight, music and women parade or the altar of fashion. But it was not until 1935 that could debut as director alone, in addition to as choreographer, beginning a career that had continuity along this decade and the next, with sporadic raids, although not very fortunate, outside the genre that would make her illustrious as in melodrama and They Made Me a Criminal.

In 1939 he/she would be hired by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, just when the music started to change giving way to the integration of songs as a storyline of the story and dances set with the development of the narrative plot. This new order of things, as exemplified by this same producer films as a day in New York or singin' in the rain, Busby Berkeley tried to adapt its ornate style to the demands of the times, although at the end it would opt to cling to it as a distinctive brand image. His films were therefore become monuments to spectacular seeking not so much have big blockbusters but become one distinctive mark of the greatness of the musical produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and possibilities that they still remained unexplored.

Dreamlike sequences based on the dream of some of the protagonists that emptied into the most crazy fantasies, served as effective excuse for the creation of numbers increasingly more complex and requiring special filming techniques. However, at the end of the forty years its old luster began to decline according to the tastes of a few spectators who seemed to opt clearly towards other more modern ways of conceiving genre. Thus, Berkeley would end up returning to their old specific occupation of choreographer to design certain specific numbers of some films that could exceptionally include some sequence isolated from these characteristics. With all Rose Marie (1954), I would point out the final goodbye from one of the greatest talents of the musical film throughout its history.

If any choreographer has had an unmistakable style to millions of viewers throughout history, this has been without doubt Busby Berkeley. Certainly the acrobatics of Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire'selegant movement should much creators as Nick Castle, Gower Champion, Michael Kidd, Eugene Loring, or Stanley Donen, but it is not less than virtually none of them finished making the leap to the address and that in any case their respective Visual styles can only be recognized by real specialists in the field. The opposite of Berkeley, whose lavish choreography of geometric forms executed in unison by dozens of dancers remain in the collective memory of generations and have influenced a decisive in land as advertising.



1930: Whoopee! 1931: crazy in summer; Flying go. 1932: Kiki; Torero force; Women who kill; Bird of paradise. 1933: 42nd Street. Vampire, 1933. Footlights parade. Roman scandals. 1934: The altar of fashion. Wonder Bar. Music and women. 1935: Star Over Broadway. By black eyes. 1936: Gold Diggers of 1937. 1937: The Singing Marine. Varsity Show. 1938: Gold Diggers in Paris. 1939: my heart was. 1941: Ziegfeld Girl. Lady Be Good. 1942: Born to Sing. 1943: Three Cheers for the Girls. Girl Crazy. 1950: Two Weeks with Love. 1951: Call me Mister. Broadway lights. 1952: The first siren. 1953: Small Town Girl. Easy to Love. 1954: rose Marie.


1935: a Trip Thru a Hollywood. 1970: The Phynx.


1933: He/She Had to Say Yes (Co-Director). 1935: 1935 vampire. The awakening of the clown. I Live For Love.1936: Stage Struck. 1937: The Go Better. Hollywood Hotel. 1938: Men Are Such Fools. Comet Over Broadway. Garden of the Moon. 1939: The children of entertainers. Fast and Furious. They Made Me a Criminal. 1940: Forty Little Mothers. Harmonies of youth; Blonde Inspiration. 1941: Babes in Broadway. 1942: For Me and My GAL. 1943: The Gang completo All Here. 1946: Cinderella Jones. 1949: Take Me Out to the Ball Game. 1952: The first siren (second unit). 1962: Jumbo (second unit).