BuzzThe Life and Art of Busby Berkeley

BuzzThe Life and Art of Busby Berkeley

Jeffrey Spivak

Print publication date: 2011

ISBN: 9780813126432

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky


Busby Berkeley was the premier dance director of motion pictures. His originality and sharply defined style brought him professional acclaim and financial reward. He saved a studio from bankruptcy and a doomed genre from senescence. He wasn't a choreographer. According to “Buzz”, choreographers were defined with artists such as Agnes de Mille. He defined “dance directing”. Busby Berkeley was a specialist in the best and limiting sense of the word. For musical pictures, he had no stylistic equal, yet he films he directed outside his purview were often middling and anonymous, lacking the imprimatur that defined his finest work. The existing literature analysing the life and works of this man is scarce and limited. The details concerning his volatile existence are often contradictory and inaccurate. This book uses colleague reminiscences, newspaper stories, legal documents, court records, studio memoranda, and never-before-published accounts from Berkeley's memoirs to create a vivid picture of this man.