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Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 27 May 1933 (USA)
A wealthy composer rescues unemployed Broadway performers with a new play.

Director:

Mervyn LeRoy

Writers:

Erwin S. Gelsey (screenplay) (as Erwin Gelsey), James Seymour (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Warren William ... J. Lawrence Bradford
Joan Blondell ... Carol King
Aline MacMahon ... Trixie Lorraine
Ruby Keeler ... Polly Parker
Dick Powell ... Brad Roberts
Guy Kibbee ... Faneul H. Peabody
Ned Sparks ... Barney Hopkins
Ginger Rogers ... Fay Fortune
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Storyline

Chorus girls Polly, Carol and Trixie are ecstatic when they learn that Broadway producer Barney Hopkins is putting on a new show. He promises all of the girls parts in the new show and even hires their neighbor Brad Roberts, an unknown composer, to write some of the music. There's only one problem: he doesn't have the money to bankroll it all. That problem is solved when Brad turns out to be quite rich but he insists that he not perform. When opening night comes, the juvenile lead can't go on forcing Brad to take the stage. He's recognized of course and his upper crust family wants him to quit. When he refuses, they tell him to end his relationship with Polly or face having his income cut off. When Brad's snobbish brother Lawrence mistakes Carol for Polly, the girls decide to have a bit of fun and teach him a lesson. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

REVEL IN THESE MIGHT SPECTACLES -- "The Parade of the Gold Diggers" "The Stairway to the Stars" "The Flower Garden of Girls" "The Ballet of the Snows" "The Dance of the Singing Violins" "The Pageant of the Forgotten Man" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 May 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Golddiggers of 1933 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$433,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 5:55 PM PST on March 10, 1933, the Long Beach earthquake hit southern California, measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale. When the earthquake hit, Busby Berkeley was filming the "Shadow Waltz" dance sequence on a sound stage on the Warner Brothers lot in Burbank. The earthquake caused a blackout on the sound stage and short-circuited some of the neon-tubed violins. Berkeley was almost thrown from a camera boom, and dangled by one hand until he could pull himself back up. Since many of the chorus girls in the dance number were on a 30-foot-high scaffold, Berkeley yelled for them to sit down and wait until the stage hands and technicians could open the sound stage doors and let in some light. See more »

Goofs

During the violin sequence, the cord for the lights on the violin disappears and reappears throughout. See more »

Quotes

Trixie Lorraine: "Fanny" is Faneul H. Peabody, just the kind of man I've been looking for, lots of money and no resistance.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Shadow Waltz
(1933) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler and chorus
Reprised also in the show
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great Pre-Code Stuff
25 January 2006 | by deuchlerSee all my reviews

This is the most perfect example of "history on the silver screen" that I can think of. When Ginger Rogers says, "It's the Depression, dearie" at the beginning to explain the chorus girls' bad luck, it's the key to the whole film. While the "Shadow Waltz" number was being filmed during an actual 1933 earthquake in L.A. a number of the girls toppled off the Art Deco "overpass" where they were swaying with their filmy hoop skirts and their neon violins short-circuited. The electrical hook-ups were also rather dangerous, especially if the neon bows came in contact with the girls' metallic wigs in that number. The culminating production number, "Remember My Forgotten Man," is the most significant historically and illustrates Warner Bros.' "New Deal" sensibilities. Warner Bros. was the only studio that "bought" the whole Roosevelt approach to economic recovery. The year before, under Hoover, WWI vets were not only neglected in terms of benefits but were run out of their shanty town near the Capitol building. Starving guys were camping on the edges of most communities who'd served in the Great War fifteen years before. Of course, why or how this number fits into such a '30s girlie-type musical revue is anyone's guess. Berkeley never looked for reality, just eye-popping surrealistic effects.

About ten years ago I found myself sitting next to Etta Moten Barnett at a Chicago NAACP banquet. I was flabbergasted. She was in her 90s yet still looked lovely. She's the singer who sang "Forgotten Man" in the window. She also sang "The Carioca" in Astaire and Rogers' first pairing, "Flying Down to Rio." She was quite gracious, though she did not have wonderful things to say about Hollywood of that era. The African Americans in both pictures were fed in a tent away from the general commissary area.

Ruby Keeler has a certain odd-ball appeal, like a homely puppy. She can't sing, she watches her leaden feet while she dances, and almost all her lines are read badly. Yes, she was married to Al Jolson, but that may have HURT her career more than anything. He was not exactly always likable. He was much older than Ruby and so full of himself.

This film is also a classic example of the PRE-CODE stuff that was slipping by---the leering "midget baby" (Billy Barty), the naked girls in silhouette changing into their "armor," the non-stop flashing of underwear or lack of underwear, Ginger Rogers having her large coin torn off by the sheriff's office mug so she's essentially standing there in panties, and so forth.

A good comparison of before and after the code would be to examine this picture and "Gold Diggers of 1935." The latter is so much more chaste, discreet, and less fascinating except for the numbers. There's not the lurid, horny aura of the Pre-Code pictures. And it's not quite as much naughty fun, either.


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