Gold Diggers of 1937: Directed by Lloyd Bacon. With Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell, Victor Moore. When two investors inform an opportunistic dancer that they can’t fund an elderly stage producer’s production, she suggests they get an insurance policy on the producer’s life.
The “Gold Diggers” franchise reminds me greatly of “The Producers” in which insurance payouts are the panacea for all the problems that some rather disreputable people are having. This is the third move of the franchise about women looking for love (and a paycheck) and the odd adventures and escapades they fall into. I’m obviously here for Glenda Farrell and she’s at the height of her fantastic skills, this movie was released the same year as one of her great Torchy Blane films (Smart Blonde) and she’s here as one of the main gold diggers, one given the task of seducing the elderly show producer, but turns out to be a gem of a woman and helps him figure out the entire enterprise against him. The final 20 minutes of the film is a stage musical with the movie and has some really cool sets and visual tricks that are 100% just creative photography. One of the larger set pieces is a WW1 trench warfare scene in which men are shooting glittery guns at women in an opposing trench (set to a song “All’s Fair In Love And War”) which strikes me as odd. 1937 is only about 20 years after the end of The Great War to End All Wars, so there were surely vets in the theatrical audiences. I wonder how they responded to it?
The DVD had a few interesting extras:
“The Romance of Louisiana” – an 18 minute stage play movie about the Louisiana Purchase from the French, I had no idea it was so dramatic. There’s a scene in which some of the American Pols are arguing and I swear to god it sounded like a modern argument, just 100+ years out of order.
“Plenty of Money and You” – animated WB short about a chicken that hatches an ostrich, set to one of the songs from the film. It’s cute and adorable and is high quality.
“speaking of the Weather” – I’m pretty sure this was supposed to be another WB short, but other than a racism warning, I couldn’t figure out how to watch it. Maybe it was this one? The warning would certainly stand:
“Gold Diggers of Broadway excerpts”, which are a couple reels from the original 1925 film which hasn’t been found in it’s entirety, so it’s considered a “lost” film. They’re from the final moments of the film during a stage musical within the film, similar to how GD37 ended, and the pageantry and acrobatic talent of the performers is insane to see and sad to know that the rest of their performance is likely lost to time.
Theatrical Trailer, which explains how the movie came to be, then features the kiss that ends the movie, a fine tradition of spoiling the final moments of a movie that we still have!
This was a great film, even if I don’t throw my feelings in for Glenda Farrell, but with her it was damn near perfect.