Monday, December 16, 2013

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Showgirls are in a musical that is shut down before it even opens. Behind in the rent, they have to steal their neighbor's milk for breakfast. The depression is hard. When they learn that an old employer is putting on a new show, they fall over themselves trying to get the role. And they are hired! With one problem: no money. Details.

When the songwriter boyfriend of one of the girls provides the funds, they are all suspicious how he came up with the bread (spoiler alert: he's a secret millionaire!)

Anyhow, the executor of dreamy's fortune disapproves of this budding romance, they try to nip it in the ... well, bud. The ladies don't take too kindly to the implication, so the game is afoot!

Somewhat witty musical romantic comedy with a little bite, replete with ridiculous Busby Berkeley signature numbers. Ginger Rogers had a fairly small role, but does get to sing "We're In the Money" including a verse sung in pig latin. The almost eerie closeup gives evidence that depression toothpaste was not as effective as the modern counterpart.

Much of the movie revolves around Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, and Aline MacMahon's characters as they try to pull a fast one on the men. Having initially seen Blondell only in later films (Desk Set and The Cincinnati Kid), it's surprising to see her as a young hottie. Nine year old Billy Barty was absolutely creepy dressed as a baby. Gold Diggers is an excellent example of pre-code Hollywood. It wasn't afraid to discuss real issues with women wearing over sized lingerie. And one of the musical numbers gives us a little more.

Not a fan of musicals, I haven't made a secret of that. And the over-the-top production numbers aren't exactly my cup of tea either. However, the fast pace, interesting story, and other elements, made it definitely worth watching. AMRU 3.5.

So, what exactly did they mean by "Pettin' in the Park" anyhow?

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