Gold Diggers of 1933
Gold Diggers of 1933 was directed by Mervyn LeRoy with the musical elements handled by Busby Berkeley. it was the number three film of the year for Warner Brothers. Gold Diggers opened in May 1933 (Berkeley's earlier film 42nd Street, opened in Feb 1933).
The film is principally about the tentative romance between a slumming (and secretly wealthy) songwriter (Dick Powell) and an aspiring singer from the chorus (Ruby Keeler.)
The balance of the film is about the misadventures of veteran stage actresses played by Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon and Ginger Rogers, who are trying to get into a stage production that won't close before they can get paid (so they can pay the landlady and get something to eat, they've been unemployed so long by "old man depression" they're starving and down to sharing a single good outfit that's borrowed from a drug store).
Warren William and Guy Kibbee are a pair of respectable Boston attorneys who get involved with this gaggle of scheming actresses, but everyone seems to have a pretty good idea that they are in the process of getting scammed and don't actually mind it too much. These two Boston Brahmins start off looking down their noses at these lowly actors and end up hopelessly infatuated.
In between this backstage story are the big production sequences from Berkeley who doesn't hold much back. The film is pre-code so there is enough innuendo to arch an eyebrow or two, and the manic energy of the choreography is simultaneously engaging, fascinating, and makes you wonder how desperate Berkeley was to make absolutely certain that the movie-goer would get overwhelmed with this films flash and dazzle (of which there is plenty).
Whatever motivations guided the hand of the writer, director and especially the choreographer, the movie has the distinction of starting and ending in a wholly unlikely way: a 22 year old Ginger Rogers starts off the movie clad in a bikini made of coins singing "We're in the money" (one verse in pig-latin), and the movie ends with Joan Blondell (dressed as a prostitute) on a street corner at night protecting a homeless man from being rousted by the police, and she sings (with Etta Moten) about 'my forgotten man," the individual who fought the countries wars, farmed its food, and is now penniless and ...well, forgotten.
These two bookends to the story sum up the entire film: its glittery, trashy, and a finger pointed right into the heart of the economic depression that was at its worst in 1933 with enormous unemployment and social dissolution from coast to coast. The message of the movie seems to be 'you owe that bum a break.'
Original Page Oct 2013
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
- Laura - 1944- Dana Andrews is a police detective investigating a murder of a girl so seemingly perfect he is frustratingly falling in love with her ghost.
- The Body Snatcher - 1945 - Grave-robbing in Scotland becomes a test of willpower between a compromised doctor (Henry Daniell) and the cabman (Boris Karloff) who ferries bodies (living and dead) for him.
- Hitchcock 2012 - Story of the making of the 1960 film Psycho, and how Alfred and Alma Hitchcock worked together during its production.
- Shepherd of the Hills - John Wayne, Harry Carey and Betty Fields in the Ozarks
- Son of Paleface 1952 - Bob Hope and Jane Russell team up in this sequel to bring a small amount of law and order to the west. Includes Roy Rogers and Trigger "The Smartest Horse in the World"
- Cat People - 1942 - Simone Simon in Val Lewton's first horror film for RKO - - what hints at being a sideways imitation of Universal's The Wolf Man but turns into a psychological study of marital alienation and self-deception, along with Lewton's frequent theme of superstition clashing with rational explanations that don't always quite fit.
- Wife vs Secretary - 1936 - Cark Gable has a problem: Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow are deciding on which woman will get to claim his heart in this corporate melodrama.
- Confession - 1937 - One of Kay Francis' best films and a well-made version of the German film Mazurka.
- Holiday Inn - 1942 - Bing Crosby turns his farm into a show business showcase, and Fred Astaire shows up. Incidentaly, he's also interested in Bing's girlfriend, Marjorie Reynolds. Film features the song "White Christmas", among many others.
- Gone with the Wind - 1939 - The biggest money-maker and one of the most famous films ever made.
- Dr. Strangelove - 1964 - The world is on the verge of a nuclear disaster between the United States and the Soviet Union - Director Kubrick makes this seem quite funny in this Cold War satire.
- Blade Runner - 1982 - Ridley Scott's influential film about 'replicants' who wish to live on earth and find a way to extend their limited lifetimes. Harrison Ford is sent to stop them.
- The Vampires Coffin - 1958 - Well made Mexican horror film with excellent photography amid a very familiar plotline. However, good performances and humor help make this version stand out.
- Daybreak - 1931 - Helen Chandler and Ramon Novarro in a melodrama about a piano teacher and an Austrian Imperial Officer who are trapped into (sometimes brutal) societal expectations for their lives.
- Stolen Holiday 1937 - Claude Rains and Kay Francis are almost lovers, but not quite; but she is extremely loyal as his financial empire begins to fall apart.
- Guilty Hands - 1931 - Lionel Barrymore and Kay Francis are working out who has killed a wealthy philanderer.
- The Vagabond Lover - 1929 - Rudy Vallee and Marie Dressler in a song-soaked and humorous telling of an amateur jazz band that is pretending to be a group of famous pros.
- The Lady Vanishes - 1938 - Hitchcock's famous film about a disappearing lady aboard a trans-continental train. Except for one stubborn young female passenger [who is consequently accused of mental instability] no one aboard can remember the vanished elderly Miss Froy.
- White Zombie - 1932 - Bela Lugosi likes making zombies, and this comes in handy when a local plantation owner on Haiti decides if he can't woo a certain girl to be his wife, he'll have Lugosi turn her into a mindless slave that he can command.