Reel Classics

Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) - Blu-ray Review

Gold Diggers of 1933

We’re in the money!  We’re in the money!  

Well, not everyone, but that doesn’t mean the star-studded comic song-and-dance spectacle of following the exploits of chorus girls Polly, Carol, and Trixie around New York City while they scratch about trying to land parts in the next BIG Broadway show isn’t an effort in bankruptcy.

"Gold Diggers of 1933 is an absolute moneymaker of darling entertainment, and it never ceases to dazzle its audience"


Not at all, especially in this REEL CLASSIC.  Turns out, everything that glitters IS gold! 

In fact, Gold Diggers of 1933 is an absolute moneymaker of darling entertainment, and it never ceases to dazzle its audience as one producer tries to get his new show off the ground.  Why?  Because the writers of the movie never lose sight of the concerns of their audience.  This film starts with a bang - Ginger Rogers rolling her eyes while she sings “We’re in the Money!” in Pig Latin - and ends with an even bigger bang.  

Not everyone is living the high life on Broadway.  Famed director Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks) has got the cast; the songs; the theater; and everything else to start making a splash in New York.  What he doesn’t have is the money, but the gag is on him thanks to an unknown composer who is going to bankroll the endeavor.  Thing is, he can’t perform his own songs!  

Offered on blu-ray thanks to the Warner Archive Collection, Busby Berkeley’s dazzling choreography absolutely shines like never seen before as elaborate musical numbers take their cue from spiraling geometric patterns.  Many of us studied this musical in film school and, to put it bluntly, Berkeley never disappoints - especially in 4K.

His choreography is magical and, as this is pre-code Hollywood at its finest, audiences get a number of flirty glimpses of flesh on display as the choir girls duck behind screens to remove their clothes and, thanks to the bright light from behind them, see that they are clearly nude.  Gold Diggers of 1933

Gold Diggers of 1933 might have been the biggest film of that year, but this REEL CLASSIC was originally filmed during The Great Depression, and that fact hugs each and every scene as desperation threatens to bring down the curtain for these starving artists time and time again.

The film, featuring solid performances from Joan Blondell as Carol King, Ruby Keeler as Polly Parker, Aline MacMahon as Trixie Lorraine as they beg, scream, and scheme for a chance to be in Barney Hopkins’ next big show about the depression they are all living in.  Complete with Dick Powell as Brad Roberts, their next-door neighbor who writes his own songs, the antics of these ladies and their friends is almost non-stop as they try to figure out just how the show can go on.  Because it must!

Featuring a roller-skating baby, Gold Diggers of 1933 is a definite REEL CLASSIC thanks to the spectacular production design and director Mervyn LeRoy's fast-paced story.  This release comes highly recommended.  I mean, where else can you see and hear Ginger Rogers sing in Pig Latin?

Broadway might have grounded to a halt during The Great Depression, but Hollywood hadn’t thanks to the artistry of Busby Berkeley.

5/5 stars

 

Gold Diggers of 1933

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Warner Archive Collection
Available on Blu-ray
- February 8, 2022
Screen Formats: 1.37:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

A classic 1930s musical, Gld Diggers of 1933 offers some of Busby Berkeley's most spectacular choreography. The opening scene features Ginger Rogers singing "We're in the Money" dressed only in silver dollars--a dream come true in depression-era America. Other spectacular dance sequences include roller-skating policemen and a midget dressed as a baby in "Petting in the Park," stunning overhead footage of chorus girls in "The Shadow Waltz," and the dark, moody "Remember My Forgotten Man," which presents the fate of jobless WWI veterans. The gold diggers are out-of-work showgirls Carol, Polly, and Trixie, played respectively by Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, and Aline MacMahon. All three hope for a job on a new musical about the depression but soon find out that the supposed producer is himself broke. But young singer-composer Brad Roberts (Dick Powell) offers to foot the bill--provided that Polly plays the lead. When Brad is forced to play the lead on opening night, his upper-crust family finds out that he is engaged to penniless Polly and send a henchman to reel Brad home. Fortunately, the henchman will have to deal with Carol and Trixie first in this wisecracking singing and dancing extravaganza.

Video:

The flash!  The bang!  The fannies!  And all the sprinkles, too!  Turns out, all that glitters is gold thanks to this release!  Even the naughty bits dazzle!  The newly minted 4K scan is a thing of black-and-white beauty.  Everything about this production shines in HD!  Framed in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, the blacks and grays are handled expertly by the transfer.  The details in and out of the wardrobe are all visible, the backgrounds are dominant, textures in clothing, and even the shadows in the theater are all visible with fine textures throughout. Shadows are thick and atmospheric throughout.  Enjoy!

Audio:

A solid DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono track provides all the thrills you need for these dance numbers.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

It’s a solid release, featuring a documentary about the film’s production, three WB cartoons that use songs from the musical, and three archival shorts.

  • FDR's New Deal... Broadway Bound (SD – 15:36)
  • Warner Bros. Cartoons: We're in the Money (HD – 6:46)
  • Warner Bros. Cartoons: Pettin' in the Park (HD – 7:00)
  • Warner Bros. Cartoons: I've Got to Sing a Torch Song (HD – 6:43)
  • Warner Bros. Shorts: Rambling 'Round Radio Row (SD – 9:11)
  • Warner Bros. Shorts: 42nd Street Special (SD – 5:45)
  • Warner Bros. Shorts: Seasoned Greetings (SD – 19:47)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:41)

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details

Gold Diggers of 1933

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
97 mins
Director
: Mervyn LeRoy
Writer:
Erwin Gelsey; James Seymour
Cast:
Warren William; Joan Blondell; Aline MacMahon
Genre
: Comedy | Musical
Tagline:
The Biggest Show on Earth.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Every time you say 'Cheap and Vulgar' I'm going to kiss you."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
May 27, 1933
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
February 8, 2022.
Synopsis: A Broadway producer has the talent, the tunes, the theater and everything else he needs to put on a show – except the dough. Not to worry, say Ginger Rogers and the other leggy chorines decked out in giant coins. Everyone will soon be singing "We're in the Money."

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Gold Diggers of 1933

 

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