Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) Gingers Pig Latin And Those Gorgeous Choreographed Scenes

Gold Diggers of 1933 art deco poster film artwork showgirls

Not my usual film choice you might note but after seeing it I’d of been well gutted if I’d never seen this. It’s like it says in the title, this film is from 1933! And shocker! it’s got boob silhouettes, girls in skimpy outfits, naked in the bath, risque conversations, innuendos and above all incredible choreographed sequences and one helluva brilliant Ginger Rogers ditty. Gold Diggers of 1933 is really fun, rather cheeky and absolutely stunning to look at.

Gold Diggers of 1933 saucy boob silhouettes showgirls changing

I was put on to Gold Diggers by someone whom I’m afraid I just can’t remember. It was from a comment linking me to the trailer with the side note to check Ginger Rogers singing in a bizarre way? There I was sitting listening to the classic melody of We’re In The Money with all the scantily-clad showgirls whizzing around whilst carrying giant coins. It’s was halfway through when Miss Rogers character, Fay Fortune, transforms the song and really blows my mind. Transfixed by the up close and personal camera shot as Ginger Rogers pretty face fills the screen then she proceeds to sings in some sort of bizarre pig latin. It’s really strange and extremely cute.

Gold Diggers of 1933 extreme close up ginger rogers face singing pig latin

Now I’m sure the mystery blogger was one of these three cool ladies.  The suspects are one of the following* No 1) Pam All Things Thriller, No 2) Kristina Speakeasy or No 3) Maddy Maddy Loves Her Classic Films. One thing’s for sure all three of these ladies are movie recommendation machines. So drop what you’re doing and have pop on over to their sites for gander.

Yeah I know I’m probably one of the last people to have watched Gold Diggers but if like me and have no idea what I’m yapping on about! Here’s that video that hooked me and if like me you’d never heard of it, give it a go. It’s extremely entertaining.

Sing it Ginger (the pig latin bit starts at 1.35)

Bizarrely Ginger is more of a background character who sings those songs and then lets a trio of showgirls shine. With the beauty, Carol King (Joan Blondell), the comedian Trixie Lorraine (Aline MacMahon) and the more homely Polly Parker (Ruby Keeler) all in comical gold digging mode.

Gold Diggers of 1933 Ginger Rogers Aline MacMahon Joan Blondell Ruby Keeler

The Great Depression is in full swing, work and money is scarce. With hearsay of producer, Barney Hopkins (Ned Sparks) all raring to go on a brand new, all singing, all dancing stage play, the girls see a way to keep food on the table. Problem being that Barney Hopkins can’t fund the whole production. Lucky Polly got the hots for neighbour and songwriter Brad Roberts (Dick Powell) who is coaxed into helping out.

Gold Diggers of 1933 Dick Powell piano and Ned Sparks

The lavish “We’re In The Money” sequence is amazingly just the opening scene of the film. There’s even bigger productions to come. All staged and choreographed by some dude called Busby Berkeley. Not being familiar with the musicals of the 30’s I’ve read that Busby was the master of devising elaborate complex shapes using big numbers of showgirls creating a kaleidoscope of patterns and amazing geometric visuals.

Gold Diggers of 1933 Busby Berkeley choreographed staged dance routines showgirls

It’s raining, it’s blowing a hoolie, it’s snowing. These showgirls get everything thrown at them. Even a weird freaky baby? It’s frantic as the girls in massive numbers twirl, sing, dance, change outfits, spin, smile and all keep somehow in sequence. Then the whole thing flips and goes into WW1 carnage spinning back round to end on the depression. It’s quite the wonder to watch. Here’s a few imagines.

Gold Diggers of 1933 Busby Berkeley choreographed staged dance routines showgirls violinsGold Diggers of 1933 we're in the money showgirls set dollar signGold Diggers of 1933 Busby Berkeley choreographed staged dance routines showgirls violins 2Gold Diggers of 1933 dime showgirls ginger rogers

  • Directed by Mervyn LeRoy who is uncredited to having been part of bringing The Wizard Of Oz to the big screen. If I’m honest I don’t know his films apart from the superb Three On A Match. Looking through his filmography I’ve stuck Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo with Spencer Tracy on my to watch list. That sounds like an excellent WW2 drama.
  • I’ve only ever seen Dick Powell as tough noir characters in films, like in the films Cry Danger and Pitfall. So it was funny to see him all young faced, wide-eyed and singing.

Gold Diggers of 1933 freaky baby in the snow

  • Billy Barty is the freaky baby boy running about during the “Pettin in the Park” number. He may of been only 3’9″ but you would of seen him all over the place. He was Gwildor in Master Of The Universe, High Aldwin in Willow and played Rumpelstiltskin in the 80’s fantasy film to name just a few.
  • There’s a trilogy? Gold Diggers of 1935 and 1937 were also made? Any good? Let me know.
  • Oh and with the director and producers taking full advantage of the pre-code era we find Miss Joan Blondell is in various states of undress.

Gold Diggers of 1933 Joan Blondell legs nightie underware sexy

The all dancing showgirl musical film genre is all new to me and I’ll confess to having really enjoyed Gold Diggers Of 1933. The grand scale of the dance routines are truly amazing but I would say that it’s the fact it’s a pre-code film that intrigued me most. Going in wondering what did they try and get away with? Surprisingly quite a bit. But it’s not all naughty little things and magnificent set pieces. It’s also fascinating to watch the four friends feisty their way through this film. Wise cracks, wit and comic banter aplenty, especially the double act of Aline MacMahon and Joan Blondell.

Now I need to keep my tough wolf exterior intact but say if, umm, say a friend of mine was, umm, like looking for others in this movie genre. What would you recommend?

Thanks for popping on by. Keep watching the squares. Mikey Wolf

PS *I have a sneaky feeling it was Pam? But whoever it was I’m very grateful. It was most excellent. Thank you


18 thoughts on “Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) Gingers Pig Latin And Those Gorgeous Choreographed Scenes

  1. Damned “code” had to ruin all the cinematic fun from 1934 onwards. Pretty sure lovely Joan married Powell.
    Precodes are way more racy in content.
    How about Billy Barty as Phillie the Mouse. It’s a cameo in Tough Guys with Kirk and Burt….. “Nice”.
    I won’t tell anyone that a member of the Video Store Action Heroes has a thing for 30’s musicals provided you don’t tell anyone I have a thing for Bing Crosby movies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully that Will Hays is slowly roasting somewhere in the nether regions. The spoilt sport! No way! I can’t remember him in Tough Guys but I haven’t seen it since the rental days. Sounds like a good excuse to watch it again, maybe!
      Our secret is save between the two of us, oh no Todds only gone and read it! We’ll have to dig out one of his weakness guilty secrets. LOL


  2. It seems to me I once watched one of these, years ago, but I remember nothing about it. I did watch that clip above, however, and it was quite impressive! Ginger Rogers definitely had a Jean Harlow look back then, and even though Dick Powell started out as a singer, I can’t picture him as anything but a tough guy.

    And talk about coincidence…last night I watched a movie that also had Billy Barty playing a baby! Although you couldn’t really tell it was him, the movie was ‘Bride of Frankenstein’, and his moment was cut…but you could still see he was there in a wide shot (once you knew it was him).

    Oh, and by the way…you and Mike both have just had your VSAH membership cards revoked!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No please don’t revoke the VSAH membership cards! LOL..
      Yeah it’s funny that I was the same with Dick Powell. So weird seeing him all jazz hands rather than slugging it out with some tough guys.
      That’s well spooky on the Billy Barty coincidence and a baby again too. I’m still to see Bride Of Frankenstein” I’ve heard on many occasion it’s a real gem of a film and “better” than the first?


      • I’ve also read, many times, that ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ is considered a supreme horror classic, and a definite improvement over ‘Frankenstein’. I may be the lone dissenting voice here, but I say ‘no way’…I was not as impressed with ‘Bride’ as everyone else seems to be. The filmmakers injected too much humor and silliness, and apparently there’s all kinds of subtext going on that I never noticed, that now makes me wonder, what’s the point? Just make a HORROR movie, for chrissake! And the monster now does something that I thought was wrong, and as I found out, even Boris Karloff thought it was wrong, but I guess everyone else thinks it’s great.

        There ARE some good scenes and moments, though, when the story sticks to horror and the monster, and doesn’t veer off into other things. And it’s fun to see scenes that were parodied in ‘Young Frankenstein’, too. And on that note, I conclude my ‘Bride of Frankenstein’ soapbox rant for today!


  3. Ahhh …. Berkeley! Those nutty Pre-Code musicals are so much fun! BTW, LOVE the homage in Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom. Steve Martin’s Pennies from Heaven is another great ’80s Valentine to ol’ Berkeley! 🙂


  4. God place to start catching up on my blog reading– glad you dug this, I think I’d only seconded a recommend on this over at one of my Pre-Code picks, because I seem to recall you saying someone else had already tipped you off to it. Anyway, as you say, it is a wonder, these musicals are so much fun and this one especially is highly original and memorable.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice review you have there, sir. The post-code Gold Diggers are fun to watch, but the 1933 one is still king, er, queen of the series for a few reasons (you can probably guess).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha yeah for some reason those missing other “reasons” from the sequels don’t have the same lure for me to hunt them down. Hopefully Will H. Hays getting prodded by a rather warm pitch fork for his spoilsport Hays Code!


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