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Gold Diggers Of 1933 Blu-ray Review

Pure Busby Berkeley.

In 1933’s “Gold Diggers Of 1933,” the Great Depression set begins with a planned Broadway show being shut down due to financial reasons. Actresses Polly, Carol, Trixie, and Fay are all seeking new work and they would have it if Broadway producer Barney could fund his new show. They run into good fortune, however, when Polly’s mysterious boyfriend Brad offers to fund the show. Initially, everybody is suspicious that Brad is hiding something. It becomes even stranger when he refuses to star in the show even though he’s the right man for the job. Due to unforeseen circumstances Brad winds up starring in the show and this is when the truth comes out- he’s the son of a millionaire. His family (including his brother Lawrence and family lawyer Faneuil) disapprove of his life choices and don’t want him to marry Polly because they think she’s a gold digger. Matters become more complicated when Carol and Trixie play tricks on Lawrence and Faneuil. Will Brad and Polly get married? What will become of Brad’s money? Will something unexpected happen with Lawrence and Faneuil? All is revealed in the end.

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy, “Gold Diggers Of 1933” is a pretty standard Broadway behind-the-scenes musical filled with drama, romance, and shenanigans. The script by Erwin S. Gelsey and James Seymour is rather clumsy as the second half of the movie strangely veers away from what seemed to be the 2 leads in Polly and Brady. Far too much time is devoted to the ruse against Lawrence and Faneuil. 

Luckily, we all know the real star of the movie is Busby Berkeley who directed the musical numbers. And what numbers they are. The iconic “We’re In The Money” opener, the elaborate “Pettin’ In The Park” sequence and the dazzling glow in the dark violin filled “Waltz Of The Shadows” sequences are nothing short of visual triumphs. Everything from the grand sets to the perfect cinematography will have you grinning ear to ear. Nobody filmed musical sequences better than Berkeley.

Berkeley aside, the actual cast is quite good here. Ginger Rogers is memorable in a supporting role, Dick Powell is consistent as ever as Brad, Guy Kibbee amuses as Faneuil, Joan Blondell impresses as Carol, Aline MacMahon scene steals as Trixie, Ruby Keeler shines as Polly, and Warren William turns in fine work as Lawrence.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? Another stunning transfer of this B&W musical from Warner Archive.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The audio is a little snowy, but adequate enough.

Extras:
* Theatrical trailer
* Song selection option
* 3 cartoons titled “We’re In The Money,” “Pettin’ In The Park” and “I’ve Got To Sing A Torch Song.”
* 3 short films titled “Rambling ‘Round Radio Show,” “42nd Street Special,” and “Seasoned Greetings.”
* “FDR’s New Deal…Broadway Bound”- An archival featurette about the film’s history and highlights.

February 12, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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