Trixie Lorraine: What’s the show about?
Barney Hopkins: It’s all about the Depression.
Carol King: We won’t have to rehearse that.
The Gold Diggers of 1933
This is a special movie and well worth seeing. I think I’m now in love with Joan Blondell and want to see ALL of her movies. Also starring in this film are Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, Aline MacMahon and the great Dick Powell.
It is a movie made during the Great Depression and is about the Depression as well. Our girls are show girls on Broadway but are out of work like everyone else. When one has an audition, the girls say good luck and call it The Great Dirty Way. Implied are the almost accepted lengths a girl had to go through to get a job.
It is a light comedy. It is funny and loaded with entertainment. One of my favorite numbers from the show is Pettin’ In The Park. This is an example of the lyric:
Pettin’ on the sly, (oh my!)
Act a little shy: (Aw, why!)
Struggle just a little,
Then hug a little,
And cuddle up and whisper this
So, couples are all over the park. Cheerful couples; old, young, black, white, thin, round, uniformed and the boys are hitting on the girls. Choreographed by Busby Berkeley, this number has a great punch-line. The girls put on armor! This is a really funny idea and gag.
This was pre-code in Hollywood, so it might seem a bit scandalous to our 2018 eyes:
The plot is typical, the girls out-smart the boys and everyone falls in love. We like it!
However. The movie ends with a shock and a surprise. The final number is Remember My Forgotten Man. Our soldiers coming back from World War One and, having served our country, could not find work. Many became homeless and lived on the street, some became hobos; it is really tragic and true.
The visual echoes German Expressionism and is brilliant. It opens with Joan Blondell dressed as a street hooker because her man has been forgotten and what else is a girl to do? Also singing is Etta Moten, uncredited but important to the song.
It is a very powerful ending to a movie and a plea to America to not forget our Forgotten Men. Busby Berkeley was a genius. Invest six minutes and forty-nine seconds of your life and watch greatness on the silver screen.