directors Mervyn LeRoy, Busby Berkeley
What a hoot!!
Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle has referred to Gold Diggers of 1933 as one of the best movies of the Depression, and Boy Howdy if I wouldn’t agree!
The pre-code comedy features Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, and Ruby Keeler as three showgirl roommates barely scraping by when Warren William shows up with a great idea for a show: a show about the Depression, what it’s really like. And when he hears the music of Dick Powell, an aspiring songwriter neighbor of the gals, and then Powell turns out to have the money to foot the show, well, we’ve got us a musical!
Blondell and MacMahon are hilarious, leading Powell’s blue blood brother and his partner around by the nose and then eventually the heartstrings while they try to mash out the show. You know, showgirls have a reputation….
The comedy is fast and funny as hell, but then you’ve got the phantasmagorical musical numbers staged, choreographed, and directed by legendary Busby Berkeley. Have you ever wondered why Busby Berkeley is a legend? Just watch Gold Diggers of 1933 and you’ll have no more questions.
From the opening number “We’re in the Money”, performed by Ginger Rogers, to the finale “Remember My Forgotten Man” (all songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin), these utterly cinematic dance and performance numbers stunning, vivid, surreal, fantastical. Words don’t do it justice. Just see it.
All of this, comic and music and fantasy escapism, yet all set solidly in the world of the Depression, a direct reflection of the outside reality of the time.
This is a movie I could watch again and again. And I plan to.