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Gold Diggers of 1933

Busby Berkeley’s second of three “backstage musicals” for Warner Bros. in 1933 was the fabled Gold Diggers of 1933, which features some of the famed choreographer’s best-known dance creations, including “We’re in the Money,” “Pettin’ in the Park,” “The Shadow Waltz,” and “Remember My Forgotten Man,” all written by the team of Harry Warren and Al Dubin. Dealing more overtly with the Great Depression than other musicals of this period, the film follows a Broadway production shut down by financial woes. The “gold diggers” (Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell, Aline MacMahon, and Ginger Rogers) are four aspiring actresses cast in the play, whose hopes hinge on Brad Roberts (Dick Powell), a musician with secret riches who is forced into the production after a string of calamitous events. Gold Diggers of 1933 was a smash hit on its initial release, nearly equaling—and following hot on the footsteps of—42nd Street. “If 42nd Street was an agreeable sketch, this one is the Sistine Chapel, an insanely overproduced extravaganza that gave Busby Berkeley his first chance to really cut loose.”—Dave Kehr.

Genres: Musical, Comedy, Drama

Other Films by Busby Berkeley

Footlight Parade

Busby Berkeley’s last of three “backstage musicals” made at Warner Bros. in 1933 is the delightful, somewhat overshadowed Footlight Parade, which adds the otherworldly James Cagney to an already potent mix of elements. Featuring unforgettable numbers such as “Honeymoon Hotel” and “By a Waterfall,” along with more questionable material for which Berkeley and songwriters Harry

42nd Street

During the early 1930s, Warner Bros. churned out a series of “backstage musicals” featuring complex choreography by the legendary Busby Berkeley, who had landed at the studio following stints on Broadway and for Samuel Goldwyn’s productions. At Warner, Berkeley made some of his most lasting creations, and 1933 was a banner year. 42nd Street follows