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Gold Diggers of 1933

By Lee Gardner | Posted

Gold Diggers of 1933 A musical about the Depression? It's so crazy, it just might work, for Gold Diggers of 1933 and for the Broadway show within the film. A poverty-flummoxed producer (Ned Sparks) tries to mount said extravaganza with a handful of his favorite showgirls (including Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, and Ginger Rogers) and an assist from a young composer (Dick Powell) with a fat bankroll and a secret. That's about it as far as the plot goes--this is exactly the sort of dithery, featherweight 1930s film Woody Allen affectionately sent up in The Purple Rose of Cairo. But, as herded right along by journeyman director Mervyn LeRoy, Gold Diggers is surprisingly funny, and even touching here and there. Most importantly, the jaw-dropping production numbers demonstrate why people still remember the name Busby Berkeley, and why the film deserves to be seen on the big screen. Berkeley-orchestrated highlights include Rogers singing "We're in the Money" in pig Latin, a cavalcade of cops on roller skates, the female choristers donning grope-proof metal corsets, the masterful "Shadow Waltz" sequence, and the downcast Sturm und Drang finale, complete with a bluesy salute to all the out-of-work doughboys. It is about the Depression, remember?

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