A Movie A Day: Quint sees GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935 (1935)
WHAT!?! That is dishonest! I’ll do it!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
Today’s movie was GOLD DIGGERS OF 1935, the third of three Busby Berkeley films we’re hitting on the list and strangely enough the only one to actually be directed by Berkeley himself. He directed and choreographed the musical numbers in all of them, but here he takes on the drama and comedy as well.
Berkeley regulars Dick Powell and Hugh Herbert return, playing very similar roles to what we’ve seen in the other Berkeley AMADs – DAMES and 42ND STREET. Herbert played the loony Cousin Ezra in yesterday’s movie and here he plays an even loonier multimillionaire Snuff expert (that’s the stuff that goes up the nose, not recorded murder) named T. Mosely Thorpe. Powell is an amiable hotel employee and this time his sweetie is Gloria Stuart, a nice change of pace since the last two flicks he’s been pining after Ruby Keeler.
Gloria Stuart, if you don’t remember, got a nomination for her return to the screen in James Cameron’s TITANIC as the elder Rose.
You can pick up on Berkeley’s direction straight away. The camera’s always moving, trick dissolves act as transitions and we get a much more musical feeling with choreographed daily chores around a grand hotel that is about to open.
The hotel attracts the richest people in the world as well as a flock of vultures trying to figure out how to feed off these eccentric rich people as they enjoy the grand opening.
Absurd comedy is close to defining these films. There’s an incredibly silly moment where four of these vultures, trying to scam investments on a charity show, are arguing over fractions. It’s dizzying and hilarious.
In terms of quality, the music, to me, wasn’t as memorable as either DAMES or 42ND STREET and this was the first series of Berkeley numbers that I felt went on for too long… although my jaw was on the floor whenever the girls at the pianos segment started. No less than 60 girls playing pianos that move in tandem, circling each other or rotating in unison. Yeah, I could see the black leotard legs moving the pianos, but there’s a moment where a line of these pianos waver back and forth so fluidly that I still can’t figure it out.
It’s a very likable movie, but of the main Berkeley I’ve seen it’s probably my least favorite. If you only have to watch one, I’d suggest either FOOTLIGHT PARADE or DAMES.
Here’s the schedule for the next 7 days:
Monday, June 23rd: MURDER, MY SWEET (1944)
Tuesday, June 24th: BORN TO KILL (1947)
Wednesday, June 25th: THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
Thursday, June 26th: TORN CURTAIN (1966)
Friday, June 27th: THE LEFT HANDED GUN (1958)
Saturday, June 28th: CALIGULA (1980)
Sunday, June 29th: THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980)
Today ends our Busby Berkeley absurd comedies of the ‘30s, but we follow Dick Powell over the 1944’s noir MURDER, MY SWEET where he plays legendary private dick Philip Marlowe. It’ll be very, very interesting to see him go from the wholesome romantic as he’s portrayed in these films to a grittier noir world. I’m very much looking forward to it. See you folks tomorrow!
June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
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June 22, 2008, 5:07 p.m. CST
June 22, 2008, 5:12 p.m. CST
by Evil Hobbit
June 22, 2008, 5:15 p.m. CST
June 22, 2008, 5:24 p.m. CST
Wow. Never seen the life and times of Joseph Merrick. Anthony Hopkins got the Hannibal Lecter gig because of his performance here, according to Demme.
June 22, 2008, 5:56 p.m. CST
Not even as a kid? C'mon, that's GOTTA be a typo or exception, Quint. Well, taking you at your word ... wow. Just wow. Enjoy it, man. It may be dated, and cheesier'n hell by today's standards -- but for pretty much anyone over 30, it's a childhood institution.
June 22, 2008, 6:29 p.m. CST
but Elephant Man is one damn fine picture.
June 22, 2008, 6:29 p.m. CST
Why? Because I was only 5 when it was released and when it finally came on tv in England and my stepdad told me that the horrifically disfigured man actually existed and wasn't made up, that was too much for me to handle. Of course, after watching it when I was older, I was able to realise that somebody who *looked* so horrible wasn't necessarily evil.
June 22, 2008, 6:45 p.m. CST
Indy 4 wouldn't even come close to 300 million. Indy 4 reached $290.8 million this weekend! In your face! It should reach 300 million by next week.
June 22, 2008, 8:57 p.m. CST
watched them all as a kid...great stuff
June 22, 2008, 10:20 p.m. CST
I think you'll be surprised how well Powell does as Marlowe. I had read the novel its based on, but always thought of Bogart on screen as Marlowe. I didn't know too much of Powell, but at first he seemed like a bad idea. But he's a good match for Marlowe onec you get into it. And still pretty funny, too. Though I think the movie makes the ending a bit sunnier.
June 22, 2008, 11:18 p.m. CST
I'm shocked that you could write about "Golddiggers of 1935" and not mention the "Lullabye of Broadway" number - where (spoiler alert) the dancers pressed the woman out the window and she DIED and there was no one to feed the cat the next mornign! She DIED! That's one of my favortie moments in film - seriously.
June 22, 2008, 11:21 p.m. CST
that is all.
June 23, 2008, 12:03 a.m. CST
"I am not an animaaaaal!" Classic shit. Get excited.
June 23, 2008, 1:03 a.m. CST
you're grabbing these from your "unseen" collection, many of which were originally bought kind of randomly? Ah, OK. That explains a lot now. Buy better movies, dude.
June 23, 2008, 2:27 a.m. CST
And the best thing is bayers and haters don´t visit this talkback.
June 23, 2008, 8:07 a.m. CST
Lullabye is the most famous and well known sequence of the movie. Like AngryCynic I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned.
June 23, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST
FYI - The woman gazing at Dick Powell in the first picture is Dorothy Dare. The still photo is from "Happiness Ahead."
June 23, 2008, 9:34 a.m. CST
They were in Gold Diggers of 35, too.... but it's still not Gloria - it's def Dorothy. :)
June 23, 2008, 11:50 a.m. CST
I didn't mean to imply that was Gloria Stuart. You're right, that is Dorothy Dare from the scene where Powell is trying to figure out if he should accept the offer to watch over Gloria Stuart and his fiance (Dare) tells him to go for it.
June 23, 2008, 3:53 p.m. CST
That's cool - I just love Dorothy Dare (obscure, huh?) and just wanted to point her out...
June 23, 2008, 4:15 p.m. CST
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