Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Gold Diggers of 1935


As usual, this is worthwhile only for Busby Berkeley’s insane musical numbers, but it is well worth it just for that. Unfortunately, you have to wait until the very end to see them. The only real saving grace before that is the hard-working, ubiquitous, versatile Adolph Menjou (and I just recently realized all those things about him; the man was good!). Here he is a manic impresario. There are also a couple tenor love songs by Dick Powell, if you go in for that sort of thing. I can tolerate it. But in the last 20 minutes Busby pulls out all the stops. The first number involves 56 white baby grand pianos that—I swear this is true—dance all over the stage while being played by 56 blondes in white gowns! If you look for it you can see the legs of the men who are under the pianos, moving them around. The pianos do the Wave, military countermarches, and finally all fit together like puzzle pieces to form a dance floor. And that’s the smaller number! For the “Lullaby of Broadway” there are well over a hundred boys and girls in a cavernous deco space that’s full of steps, and they are all tap-dancing their hearts out, up and down the steps. It’s amazing how good they all are. It’s just one thunderous, rapid-fire rat-a-tat as they all tap in sync. This number is available in two parts on YouTube, and I highly recommend it for fans of musicals, dance, and Busby Berkeley. Part 1 & Part 2.

I spotted what I thought was a familiar name, and sure enough, Gloria Stuart was the old lady in Titanic, who got an Oscar nomination and a career revival in 1987.