48 user 19 critic

Dames (1934)

Passed | | Comedy, Music, Musical | 1 September 1934 (USA)
A multimillionaire decides to boycott "filthy" forms of entertainment such as Broadway shows.


Delmer Daves (screen play), Robert Lord (story) | 1 more credit »
1 win. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Joan Blondell ... Mabel Anderson
Dick Powell ... Jimmy Higgens
Ruby Keeler ... Barbara Hemingway
Zasu Pitts ... Mathilda Hedmingway
Guy Kibbee ... Horace P. Hemingway
Hugh Herbert ... Ezra Ounce
Arthur Vinton ... Bulger - Ounce's Bodyguard
Phil Regan ... Johnny Harris - Songwriter
Arthur Aylesworth ... Train Conductor
Johnny Arthur ... Billings - Ounce's Secretary
Leila Bennett ... Laura - Matilda's Maid
Berton Churchill ... Harold Ellsworthy Todd
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bess Flowers ... (scenes deleted)
Richard Quine ... (unconfirmed)


Multi-millionaire Ezra Ounce wants to start a campaign against 'filthy' forms of entertainment, like Broadway-Shows. He comes to his relatives families and makes them members of his morale-boosting campaign. But Jimmy, another relative is producing a show, starring Ezra's niece Barbara. But he had bad luck with his backer, this person has given him an invalid check. Another of his victims, the show-girl Mabel has the idea of blackmailing Horace, Barbara's father, whom she has met before in a slightly compromising situation to get the money. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The GAYEST, GIRLIEST, GREATEST MUSICAL of 1934! (Print Ad- Philadelphia Inquirer, ((Philadelphia, Penna.)) 26 August 1934) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Jean Rogers, who later played Dale Arden, Flash Gordon's girlfriend in 30s serials, is a member of this film's chorus. See more »


The Hemingway mansion is located at 420 W. 10th St, according to the invitation to the meeting of The Ounce Foundation for the Elevation of American Morals. 420 W. 10th St, if it existed, would be located in the Hudson River off Pier 45. The adjacent neighborhood is Christopher Street - West Village, an area not likely (then or now) to be sympathetic to moral "elevation." (The address shown on Horace's luggage tag, seen earlier on the train, is 420 E. 10th St.) See more »


Mabel: Beat it, Buttercup.
See more »


Referenced in Torch Song Trilogy (1988) See more »


The Girl at the Ironing Board
(1934) (uncredited)
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Joan Blondell in the show
See more »

User Reviews

One of the Best Busby Berkeley's
3 June 2010 | by lewis-51See all my reviews

A wonderful musical comedy, fitting in well with 42nd Street, Golddiggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, and Golddiggers of 1935. Of the five, I would place this one tied for second, behind Golddiggers of 1933, equal to Footlight Parade, and just a hair better than 42nd Street. If you have seen none of them it would be good to start with this one. Then I would go to 42nd Street, Footlight Parade, saving the masterpiece Golddiggers of 33 for last. (Golddiggers of 1935 is quite a bit inferior.)

The first strong point is the excellent comedic plot, better than that in 42nd Street, about the same as Footlght Parade. Guy Kibbe is wonderful as always, Hugh Herbert and Zasu Pitts are great. The three of them really steal the show, at least as far as acting and plot go. The jokes come quickly and can easily be missed. I would hazard a guess that some viewers will no longer get the joke in the name of Hugh Herbert's character, "Ezra Ounce."

Joan Blondell is gorgeous and smart as always. Dick Powell is the same as in all the movies - which is absolutely fine! I love his voice.

I find Ruby Keeler a delight to look at and watch. It's true, as others have commented, that she really doesn't do a heck of a lot in this one, though she is on screen quite a lot. Some people seem to love to put down her acting or dancing. OK, so she's not going to star in King Lear or Antigone. So what? Get over it! That's not the point. She is very appealing. Similarly, I like seeing her dance. She doesn't have to be as good as Cyd Charisse. Get over it!

The real appeal of all five of the movies I've mentioned here, and the real star, is Busby Berkeley. It is amazing to read one or two of the reviews written here in the last decade by people who, I suppose, are rather young and set in their ways. How anyone with half a brain can watch this movie and not be absolutely blown away is unbelievable to me. Truly, such a person is blind. Maybe not in the sense of passing the eye test for a driver's license, but blind nonetheless. Surely Busby Berkeley was the most unexpected creative genius in the history of film.

Let me echo something another poster has written. Though I was born long after the great depression ended, it was still a living reality in the minds of my parents, and something I absorbed somehow when growing up. Maybe a byproduct of the difficult economic times we are living through now will be a greater sensitivity on the part of some people to those times and the culture produced in those times. It does seem that some of the negative reviewers here need to broaden and deepen their appreciation, not just of movies, but of humanity.

But I digress. This is a wonderful, fun, eye-popping movie, full of great songs and fantastic choreography. Enjoy.

  • henry

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Release Date:

1 September 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dames See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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