Gold Diggers of 1933 - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Gold Diggers of 1933 Reviews

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April 23, 2016
Berkeley's stunning dance numbers are perfectly matched by a witty and highly entertaining plot.
March 14, 2016
This is about 3 movies rolled into one: gritty depression era drama, screwball/romantic comedy, and of course, Busby Berkeley musical. It excels at all three, and particularly the latter. The only problem with it all is, it's a little exhausting!
January 6, 2016
Amazing film. Still have "Forgotten Man" stuck in my head a week later...
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2015
A politically engaged (and very funny) musical that reflects the historical context to which it belongs and, clearly in favor of Roosevelt's New Deal, uses the magical transformation of the limited theater stage into a gigantic cinematic space to show that everything is possible.
May 11, 2015
I hate myself for having enjoyed this film.
½ January 25, 2015
Pre-code musical with classic Busby Berkeley dance numbers and a fun cast. You can tell that they were able to get away with a lot of things back in the day, which made the movie have more snap to it.

Grade: B+
October 28, 2014
A charming musical about a group who sure know how to look after their own during the depression.

Considered by many as Busby Berkley (Hollywood's Greatest Musical Choreographer) greatest film & it has some unbelievable Musical Numbers.

It also deals with issues & consequences of the depression but it is sure glossed over..it's a fun film that's over the top but wildly entertaining.
½ September 30, 2014
Busby Berkeley's production numbers are the highlight of this rapidly-paced musical comedy: the highlights are the risque "Pettin' In the Park," the spectacular "Shadow Waltz," and the social statement "Remember My Forgotten Man."
March 29, 2014
This Golden of Age of Hollywood musical is fairly average, with plenty of plot holes and mediocre songs...but some of the songs are actually pretty good, with "We're in the Money" being quite the classic. The plot is weak, but some of the characters and jokes make it worth it. Don't expect much.
January 31, 2014
Not really my thing, usually. I had my fill of gold diggers a few years back. But I enjoyed this film a bit more expected, a bit more than for the sake of mere historical curiosity. Sure the Busby B numbers are trippy madness, up there with some 2001 sequences as "scenes to watch while stoned". If you're into that type of thing. (The baby in particular needs to be seen to be believed). The music didn't do much for me, but surprisingly the (sex) farcical comedy did - some pre-Hayes code goodness here, more than a few clever, cynical chuckles to go along with the predictable corn. "Peabody, you're disgusting".
December 3, 2013
Two great musical scenes, plus one of the few musicals with good, funny nonmusical subplots. One of the best musicals I've seen.
September 4, 2013
One of the best musical comedies of the 1930's, "Gold Diggers of 1933" pulls off quite a difficult feat: it has the Great Depression is a huge component to the plot.  Yet, it stills manages to have the feel-good tenderness and zany humor a musical should have. It features show-stopping musical numbers, great tunes, and fantastic comedic performances.  It packs a heck of a punch, and it's only 96 minutes long.
The film focuses around three gorgeous young showgirls; the sexy Carol (Joan Blondell), ingenue Polly (Ruby Keeler), and the wisecracking Trixie (Aline MacMahon). Unfortunately, the show they were performing in gets shut down, thanks to the spiraling economy. So they're out of the job; but things quickly pick up.
The women's neighbor, Brad (Dick Powell), is a songwriter, and he mysteriously funds their new show. He falls deeply in love with Polly, and of course she does back. As it turns out, Brad comes from a family of wealth, and so his elder brother (Warren William), who gives him most of his money, is suspicious that Polly is just a gold digger.
But fear not! Polly's friends aren't as dumb as the public might view them. They devise a scheme to distract Brad's brother from the truth, and so Carol pretends to be Polly while Trixie romances his partner in crime. Yet somehow, everything works out in the end.
Around the time the Great Depression rolled around, films never focused on what was truly happening in America, and instead made sure that everything on the screen was highly sophisticated -- not to mention the fact that 90% of movies had characters that were super rich (it's not hard to look towards the Astaire & Rogers movies).  "Gold Diggers of 1933" flips that mindset completely around, and it's somewhat ingenious.
After all, the film focuses around a group of showgirls eager to get jobs after the economic drop lost them.  The film itself ended up being one of the highest-grossing films of 1933, and it's easy to see why.  While the movie itself did feature some of the most glamorous stars of the day, they portrayed characters that were believable and relatable.  It's refreshing even today to see that a filmmaker such as Mervyn LeRoy could see that real-life didn't have to be romanticized for audiences to fall in love.
Though "Gold Diggers of 1933" DOES boast self-referential intelligence, it still is one of the most dazzling musicals of all-time.  One of famed choreographer's Busby Berekley's first gigantically popular films, the routines are simply marvelous to look at.  The opening "We're in the Money" number features beautiful girls dressed to the nines in coin-themed costumes, pulling off dance moves not even thought of today, while Ginger Rogers sings the theme of the routine with glee.  The highlight for sure, is the closing showpiece, the touching "Remember My Forgotten Man," which pays tribute to those we lost in World War I.  Though these two numbers are certainly excellent, the total four of them are so outrageous that it would be impossible to praise them highly enough.  Berkeley has outdone himself here.
Sure, what happens on stage in the film is most likely too over-the-top to really be serious, but "Gold Diggers of 1933" is a movie; and it's a great one.  It's rare that a musical can be so intelligent while still being lightweight, spectacular, and downright funny.
½ June 6, 2013
It seems to want to convince us that theater people aren't perversely sick in the head. I wonder who's responsible for that message.

Exceptionally clever & witty dialogue. Of course, the opening number is iconic.

The fake piano playing was obvious. The comic relief girl was annoying at times. When they are trying to swindle the rich men out of hats, they couldn't be more irritating.

The message: carousal with flirtatious show girls is the only way to be humanized, if you're slightly principled.

I wish it would've ended with the perfect setup of the older brother being convinced that the real Polly was a woman of good breeding, & insisted his brother go for her so he could prove to himself that he could get the girl he thought was Polly. Instead, he just finds out in the paper, & that whole potentially perfect ending is blown up.

However, all mockery aside, there is a heart to the story that finally arrives, & does win me over in the end. The characters I previously held in contempt, I began to care about. (Though the Trixie relationship is a bit difficult to believe.)

On another note, Busby Berkeley was brilliant.

Tremendous entertainment amidst & about the great depression.
Special props to Larry Miller for the recommendation & the podcast episode about it.
½ May 6, 2013
Part Pretty Woman, part social satire, this depression-era musical about the depression itself has some unbelievably grandiose numbers. It is truly unflinching & wonderful.
April 10, 2013
A masterpiece of the musical comedy genre, Gold Diggers of 1933 holds up surprisingly well in spite of a bit of sit-com-style writing in the second act. The writing is razor sharp, the cast is just about perfect, and the musical numbers are absolutley stunning. It was made just before The Code was heavily enforced on Hollywood films, and thank God it was. The film is like a time capsule of life during the depression, but never becomes depressing thanks to the wit in the dialogue and fantastic direction from Mervyn LeRoy and especially Busby Berkely. Gold Diggers of 1933 is a must-see for fans of musicals, and even if you're not, you might be surprised if you give it a try.
January 13, 2013
As entertaining as the Footlight Parade and 42nd Street. Such eye candies.
½ January 3, 2013
Tons of fun and extravaganza! Get ready for the closing scene.
January 2, 2013
This is one of my favorite musicals of all time
½ December 29, 2012
By itself, it's a pretty good romance film that is pure Hollywood, but when you factor in the musical numbers which are some of the most exquisitely shot and staged committed to film, it becomes something special.
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