Gold Diggers of 1933

Gold Diggers of 1933

name = Gold Diggers of 1933

image_size = 215px
caption = theatrical poster
writer = Play:
Avery Hopwood
Erwin S. Gelsey
James Seymour
Ben Markson
David Boehm
starring = Ruby Keeler
Dick Powell
Joan Blondell
Ginger Rogers
director = Mervyn LeRoy
producer = Robert Lord
Jack L. Warner
music = Harry Warren
Al Dubin
cinematography = Sol Polito
editing = George Amy
distributor = Warner Bros.
released = 27 May fy|1933
runtime = 96 minutes
country = FilmUS
language = English
budget = $433,000 "(est.)"
gross =
imdb_id = 0024069|

"Gold Diggers of 1933" is a Warner Bros. musical film directed by Mervyn LeRoy with songs by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. It stars Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell and Ginger Rogers and features Warren William, Guy Kibbee, Ned Sparks and Aline MacMahon.

The story is based on the play "The Gold Diggers" by Avery Hopwood which ran for 282 performances on Broadway in 1919 and 1920. [IBDB [ "The Gold Diggers"] ] . The play was made into a silent film in 1923 by David Belasco, the producer of the Broadway play, as "The Gold Diggers", starring Hope Hampton and Wyndham Standing, and again as a talkie in 1929, directed by Roy Del Ruth. That film, "Gold Diggers of Broadway", which starred Nancy Welford and Conway Tearle, was the biggest box office hit of that year, and "Gold Diggers of 1933" was one of the top grossing films of 1933.TCM [ Notes] ] This version of Hopwood's play was written by James Seymour and Erwin S. Gelsey, with additional dialogue by David Boehm and Ben Markson.

In 2003, "Gold Diggers of 1933" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


The "gold diggers" are four aspiring actresses: Polly the ingenue (Ruby Keeler), Carol the torch singer (Joan Blondell), Trixie the comedienne (Aline MacMahon) and Fay the glamourpuss (Ginger Rogers).

The film was made in fy|1933 at the nadir of the Great Depression and contains numerous direct references to it. In fact, it begins with a rehearsal for a stage show, which is interrupted by the producer's creditors who close down the show because of unpaid bills.

At the unglamorous apartment shared by three of the four actresses (Polly, Carol, and Trixie), the producer, Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks), is in despair because he has everything he needs to put on a show, except money. Then he accidentally hears Brad Roberts (Dick Powell), the girls' neighbor and Polly's boyfriend, playing the piano. Brad is a brilliant songwriter and singer who not only has written the music for a show, but also offers Hopkins $15,000 in cash to back the production. Of course, they all think he's pulling their legs, but he insists that he's serious – he'll back the show, but he refuses to perform in it, despite his talent and voice.

Brad comes through with the money and the show goes into production, but the girls are suspicious that he must be a criminal since he is cagey about his past, and will not appear in the show, even though he is clearly more talented than the aging juvenile lead they've hired. It turns out, however, that Brad is in fact a millionaire's son whose family does not want him associating with the theatre. On opening night, in order to save the show when the juvenile can't perform (due to his lumbago acting up), Brad is forced to play the lead role.

With the resulting publicity, Brad's brother, J. Lawrence Bradford (Warren William) and the family lawyer, Fanuel H. Peabody (Guy Kibbee) discover what he is doing, and arrive in New York to prevent him from being seduced by "gold diggers." Their goal is to break up the romance between Brad and Polly.

Lawrence mistakes Carol for Polly, and his heavy-handed effort to dissuade the "cheap and vulgar" showgirl from marrying Brad by buying her off annoys her so much that she goes along with the gag in order to eventually pull the rug out from under him. Trixie meanwhile targets "Fanny" the lawyer as the perfect rich sap ripe for exploitation. But what starts as gold-digging turns into something else, and when the dust settles, Carol and Lawrence are in love and Trixie marries Fanuel, while Brad is free to marry Polly after all. All the "gold diggers" (except Fay) end up married to wealthy men.


* Ruby Keeler – "Polly Parker, the ingenue"
* Dick Powell – "Brad Roberts, the songwriter and singer (aka Robert Treat Bradford)"
* Joan Blondell – "Carol King, the torch singer"
* Ginger Rogers – "Fay Fortune, the glamourpuss"
* Warren William – "Lawrence Bradford, Brad's brother"
* Guy Kibbee – "Faneul H. Peabody, the Bradford family lawyer"
* Ned Sparks – "Barney Hopkins, the producer"
* Aline MacMahon – "Trixie Lorraine, the comedienne"
* Etta Moten – "soloist in "Remember My Forgotten Man"
* Billy Barty – "The Baby in "Pettin' in the Park"

Cast notes:
* Character actors Sterling Holloway and Hobart Cavanaugh appear in small roles, as does choreographer Busby Berkeley (as a backstage call boy who yells "Everybody on stage for the 'Forgotten Man' number."). Louise Beavers makes one of her myriad appearances as a maid. [TCM [ Full Credits] ]

Musical numbers

The film contains four song and dance sequences designed, staged and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. All the songs were written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. [TCM [ Music] ] (In the film, when producer Barney Hopkins hears Brad's music he picks up the phone and says: "Cancel my contract with Warren and Dubin!")

"We're in the Money" is sung by Ginger Rogers accompanied by scantily-clad showgirls dancing with giant coins. Rogers sings one verse in Pig Latin.

"Pettin' in the Park" is sung by Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell. It includes a tap dance from Keeler and a surreal sequence featuring dwarf actor Billy Barty as a baby who escapes from his stroller. During the number, the women get caught in a rainstorm and go behind a backlit screen to remove their wet clothes in silhouette. They emerge in metal garments, which thwart the men's attempts to get them off, until Billy Barty gives Dick Powell a can opener. This number was originally planned to end the film.

"The Shadow Waltz" is sung by Powell and Keeler. It features a dance by Keeler, Rogers, and many female violinists with neon-tubed violins that glow in the dark. Berkeley got the idea for this number from a vaudeville act he once saw - the neon on the violins was an afterthought. An earthquake hit Burbank while this number was being filmed:

[it] caused a blackout and short-circuited some of the dancing violins. Berkeley was almost thrown from the camera boom, dangling by one hand until he could pull himself back up. He yelled for the girls, many of whom were on a convert|30|ft|m|sing=on-high platform, to sit down until technicians could get the soundstage doors open and let in some light.Frank Miller [ "Gold Diggers of 1933" TCM article] ]

"Remember My Forgotten Man" is sung by Joan Blondell and Etta Moten and features sets influenced by German Expressionism and a gritty evocation of Depression-era poverty. Berkeley was inspired by the May 1932 war veterans march on Washington, D.C. When the number was finished, Jack Warner and Darryl F. Zanuck (the studio production head) were so impressed that they ordered it moved to the end of the film, displacing "Pettin' in the Park".

An additional production number was planned, but didn't make it into the film: "I've Got to Sing a Torch Song" was to have been sung by Ginger Rogers, but instead appears in the film sung by Dick Powell near the beginning.IMDB [ Trivia] ]


"Gold Diggers of 1933" was originally to be called "High Life", and George Brent was an early casting idea for the role played by Warren William. It was made for an estimated $433,000, [IMDB [ Business Data] ] at Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, and went into general release on 27 May 1933.

In 1934, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound Recording for Nathan Levinson, the film's sound director.

ee also

*"Gold Diggers of 1935"
*"Gold Diggers of 1937"
*"Gold Diggers in Paris"


External links

*imdb title|id=0024069|title=Gold Diggers of 1933
*tcmdb title|id=3463|title=Gold Diggers of 1933
*allmovie title|1:20140
*rotten-tomatoes|id=gold_diggers_of_1933|title=Gold Diggers of 1933

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