Gold Diggers of 1935
|Gold Diggers of 1935|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Busby Berkeley|
|Produced by||Robert Lord|
|Screenplay by||Manual Seff
|Story by||Robert Lord
Harry Warren (music)
Al Dubin (lyrics)
|Edited by||George Amy|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Gold Diggers of 1935 is an American musical film directed and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. Starring Dick Powell, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria Stuart and Alice Brady, featuring Winifred Shaw, Hugh Herbert and Glenda Farrell. The film is best known for the famous "Lullaby of Broadway" production number, which features Shaw singing the song which won Harry Warren and Al Dubin an Academy Award.
The movie was the fourth film of the Gold Diggers series of movie musicals, after the now lost silent film The Gold Diggers (1923), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929) and a remake of the earlier film Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933). Both the original and the 1933 film made a great deal of money for Warner Bros. and Gold Diggers of 1935 was an attempt to repeat that success. It was followed by Gold Diggers of 1937 and Gold Diggers in Paris.
In the resort of Lake Waxapahachie, the swanky Wentworth Plaza is where the rich all congregate, and where the tips flow like wine. Handsome Dick Curtis (Dick Powell) is working his way through medical school as a desk clerk, and when rich, penny-pinching Mrs. Prentiss (Alice Brady) offers to pay him to escort her daughter Ann (Gloria Stuart) for the summer, Dick can't say no – even his fiancee, Arline Davis (Dorothy Dare) thinks he should do it. Mrs. Prentiss wants Ann to marry eccentric middle-aged millionaire T. Mosley Thorpe (Hugh Herbert), who's a world-renowned expert on snuffboxes, but Ann has other ideas. Meanwhile her brother, Humbolt (Frank McHugh) has a weakness for a pretty face: he's been married and bought out of trouble by his mother several times.
Every summer, Mrs. Prentiss produces a charity show for the "Milk Fund", and this year she hires the flamboyant and conniving Russian dance director Nicolai Nicoleff (Adolphe Menjou) to direct the show. The parsimonious Mrs. Prentiss wants to spend the least amount possible, but Nicoleff and his set designer Schultz (Joseph Cawthorn) want to be as extravagant as they can, so they can rake off more money for themselves, and for the hotel manager (Grant Mitchell) and the hotel stenographer Betty Hawes (Glenda Farrell), who's blackmailing the hapless snuffbox fancier Thorpe.
Of course, Dick and Ann fall in love, Humbolt marries Arline, and the show ends up costing Mrs. Prentiss an arm and a leg, but in the end she realizes that having a doctor in the family will save money in the long run.
- Dick Powell as Dick Curtis
- Adolphe Menjou as Nicolai Nicoleff
- Gloria Stuart as Ann Prentiss
- Alice Brady as Matilda Prentiss
- Hugh Herbert as T. Mosely Thorpe III
- Glenda Farrell as Betty Hawes
- Frank McHugh as Humbolt Prentiss
- Joseph Cawthorn as August Schultz
- Grant Mitchell as Louis Lampson
- Dorothy Dare as Arline Davis
- Wini Shaw as Winny
- "I'm Going Shopping with You" – Sung by Dick Powell to Gloria Stuart, this is a montage of scenes of Stuart shopping for everything from lingerie to jewelry, much to the dismay of her penny-pinching mother, Alice Brady.
- "The Words Are in My Heart" – This elaborate Busby Berkeley production number utilized 56 white grand pianos, which were moved around the sound stage by male dancers underneath the piano-shells, dressed in black.
- "Lullaby of Broadway" – One of the most famous Busby Berkeley numbers is actually a short film-within-a-film, which tells the story of a Broadway Baby who plays all night and sleeps all day. It opens with a head shot of singer Wini Shaw against a black background, then the camera pulls back and up, and Shaw's head becomes the Big Apple, New York City. As everyone rushes off to work, Shaw returns home from her night's carousing and goes to sleep. When she awakens, that night, we follow her and her beau (Dick Powell) from club to club, with elaborate large cast tap numbers, until she is accidentally pushed off a balcony to her death. The sequence ends with a return to Shaw's head, as she sings the end of the song. Of all the musical numbers Berkeley created in his career, he named this as his personal favorite.
Gold Diggers of 1935 was in production at Warner Bros. Burbank studios until 14 January 1935, and was released on 15 March of that year. During production a chorus dancer, Jack Grieves, died on the set due to acute indigestion.
The film was Busby Berkeley's first time at the helm of a film as the official director, although he had his own unit at Warners to do the elaborate production numbers he conceived, designed, staged and directed, which were the major elements of the Warners musicals of that period.
Awards and honors
The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:
- 2004: AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs – Lullaby of Broadway Nominated
- 2006: AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominated
- The Gold Diggers (1923)
- Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929)
- Gold Diggers of 1933
- Gold Diggers of 1937
- Gold Diggers in Paris (1938)
- Gold Diggers of 1935 at the American Film Institute Catalog
- Warner Bros. had earlier filmed the same story as a silent film, The Gold Diggers in 1923.
- TCM Notes
- Hirschhorn, Clive (1991) . The Hollywood Musical (2nd ed.). New York: Portland House. p. 101. ISBN 0-517-06035-3.
- "Dancer Drops Dead". The Rochester Evening Journal. January 11, 1935. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
- IMDB Awards
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
- "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.