Gold Diggers of 1933

Not rated yet!
Director
Mervyn LeRoy
Runtime
1 h 37 min
Release Date
27 May 1933
Genres
Comedy, Music, Drama
Overview
Things get tough for Carol and her showgirl pals, Trixie and Polly, when the Great Depression kicks in and all the Broadway shows close down. Wealthy songwriter Brad saves the day by funding a new Depression-themed musical for the girls to star in, but when his stuffy high-society brother finds out and threatens to disown Brad, Carol and her gold-digging friends scheme to keep the show going, hooking a couple of millionaires along the way.
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  • Gold Diggers of 1935, 1935 - ★★★½
    (”Gold Diggers of 1933” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Gold Diggers of 1935 starts strong with a charming sequence in which the staff of the Wentworth Plaza prepare the hotel to receive its world-class guests by cleaning, painting, sweeping, etc. in rhythm. It starts things with a pace that makes you think, “Ah, so this is how it feels to have Berkeley in the director’s chair.” While he had creative control over the legendary musical sequences in 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, Dames, and a few other films, it was only starting with GD of ‘35 that Busby Berkeley takes the sole director’s credit. Unfortunately, that excitement felt at the beginning is not rewarded again until the end of the film.

    His films have always been vehicles for his outstanding, visionary musical set pieces that come at the climax. This film is no different. But the narrative feels particularly inconsequential here, and the humor largely falls flat. Alice Brady has a nice screen presence as the wealthy widow Mrs. Prentiss, but her characterization as a rich penny pincher quickly becomes repetitive stereotype. Likewise, Hugh Herbert is nothing more than a collection of ticks and cliches as T. Mosley Thorpe. Much could have been done to bring depth to the characters.

    Dick Powell returns once again as the leading man, but this time, Gloria Stuart takes the place of Ruby Keeler as the leading lady. This is a point in the movie’s favor, because, despite being a looker, Keeler was given more than she could handle in the previous films. She had minimal acting, singing, and dancing ability but was supposed to lead the films by faking all three. Stuart is different. She is a perfectly competent actress, and is not asked to dance or sing. Instead, for the musical numbers, Wini Shaw comes in to sing and dance alongside Powell. And Shaw, as it turns out, is a fantastic performer.

    And let’s talk about those musical numbers— the love song, “The Words Are in My Heart” is a lovely tune but not half so memorable as “I Only Have Eyes for You” from Dames. The real showstopper here is the unforgettable “Lullaby of Broadway,” which went on to win the Oscar for Best Song, and which lives on as an immortal jazz standard. And Berkeley’s choreography and direction for this piece is nothing short of masterful. If this movie deserves your attention for one thing, it’s this. Berkeley creates something of a short film with this sequence—completely separate from the forgettable story of the film overall—that is spectacular, surprising, and even tinged with dramatic tragedy. It has to be seen to be believed.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Dames, 1934 - ★★★½
    (”Gold Diggers of 1933” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Not as strong of a picture as the three Busby Berkeley musicals that came before it (42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade). In fact, if you think about just how great James Cagney was in Footlight Parade and compare it to this threadbare plot, this movie just doesn’t stand up as well.

    That said, purely as a musical creation, “I Only Have Eyes for You” may be my favorite song in any of these movies, and the patterns Berkeley makes with the dancers in the final, titular song are among his very best. These two things alone take this movie from forgettable to legendary.

    That’s the power of a creative force like Busby Berkeley.

    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Busby Berkeley Ranked
    (”Gold Diggers of 1933” is briefly mentioned in this.)
    ...
    (Review Source)
  • Musicals
    (”Gold Diggers of 1933” is briefly mentioned in this.)

    Top 10 musicals of all time. I chose not to count the Disney animated films since I think of them as their own genre.

    1. Singin' in the Rain
    2. Top Hat
    3. Meet Me in St. Louis
    4. West Side Story
    5. The King and I
    6. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
    7. Mary Poppins
    8. Gold Diggers of 1933
    9. My Fair Lady
    10. The Sound of Music
    ...
    (Review Source)

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