Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Gold Diggers of 1937|
Actors: Iris Adrian, Joan Blondell, Harry C. Bradley, Sheila Bromley, Charles D. Brown
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 09/16/2008 Run time: 128 minutes
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Warner Brothers Does it Again
Samantha Kelley | USA | 09/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gold Diggers of 1937 doesn't have the best plot in the world, but it makes up for what it lacks with the great musical numbers. Dick Powell stars as an insurance salesman who can't seem to sell a policy. On a train he finds himself face to face with Joan Blondell; it is love at first sight. Love does wonders for him and he soon finds a client. Victor Moore might not be a great candidate for life insurance; he isn't very young and he isn't very healthy, but he is interested in a million dollar policy.
"Speaking of the Weather" is a catchy and sweet little tune played beautifully by Powell and Blondell, by this time married and in the throes of love. There is a great tap routine in the second rendition of the song. "All is Fair in Love and War," the big finale, features a bevy of beautiful girls rocking in rocking chairs and bombing their beaus from across a largely black screen. It isn't as impressive as one might expect. The blank background seems a little too simple as the song isn't so great. Still, since Busby Berkeley had a hand in it, it comes off better than it would have without his guidance.
Also included on this DVD are two clips from the lost film Gold Diggers of Broadway, a film considered to be the first of the Gold Diggers movies. It was filmed in two strip technicolor, so it is a curiosity to early film lovers. "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" is a straightforward musical number, but the grand finale is quite impressive with a gorgeous skyscraper background and intricate dance routines. Unfortunately, not all of the film from this scene has been salvaged so for the very end we can only hear what is going on."
Rather good--although it doesn't have that little extra bit
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 03/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gold Diggers of 1937 was the last film of the "Gold Diggers" series done at Warner Brothers with the aid of Busby Berkeley. You can tell that they were winding it all down, too: the plot is good but there just isn't that little extra bit of "zest" that was in the previous "Gold Diggers" films. On the other hand, don't expect to be too disappointed. The musical numbers are still rather memorable and with Dick Powell's singing they shine bright. The choreography by Busby Berkeley couldn't be better and the cinematography is very good, too. The plot moves along at a good pace and it held my attention despite a few unnecessary details.
When the action begins, we meet some chorus girls who are out of work during the Great Depression. Among them are Norma Perry (Joan Blondell) and her pal Genevieve 'Gen' Larkin (Glenda Farrell). They decide to make "friends" with the guys onboard a train ride home; the men are coming from an insurance sales convention and they are just as happy to meet the ladies as the ladies are to meet the men onboard the train. At one point, so many men are literally chasing after Norma that she quickly ducts for safety into Rosmer 'Rossi' Peck's (Dick Powell) cabin. Almost instantly, Rosmer and Norma sense a spark of love between them; and Rosmer gives Norma his card telling her to go to the insurance company where he works to look for a stenographer position.
Meanwhile, there's another story percolating--and it's getting pretty intense, too. It seems that the hypochondriac theater producer J.J. Hobart (Victor Moore) is broke and unable to put on his upcoming Broadway show--only he doesn't know it. Without telling him, his sneaky partners Morty Wethered (Osgood Perkins) and Tom Hugo (Charles D. Brown) squandered Hobart's money on bad stock tips. Morty and Tom are up to no good; they desperately convince J.J. to take out a life insurance policy with them as the beneficiaries. Now, when J.J. "kicks the bucket" they will get back their money and do whatever they want! They also get Rosmer to sell J.J. the insurance policy after Genevieve tells them Rosmer is too naive to realize the real reason of insuring J.J. However, Rosmer is told by his boss to watch J.J. every waking hour of the day to make sure J.J. lives a long life. That insurance company doesn't want to pay out any money!
Will Morty and Tom collect on that life insurance policy? J.J. has to die before they can; and with Rosmer and his buddy Boop Oglethorpe (Lee Dixon) watching J.J., he may not die for a long while. What might happen at an outdoor party one night--will Morty and Tom be able to get J.J. to catch pneumonia in the cool evening air? What about Gen--will she be able to sink her claws into J.J. and take him for all he's worth? Watch and find out!
The DVD comes with a few extras; but far and away the best feature is the 2 strip technicolor footage from the 1929 lost film Gold Diggers of Broadway. There are a couple of Warner Brothers cartoons based somewhat on the movie, too.
Gold Diggers of 1937 gives you a good story line with a fairly strong ending number staged by Busby Berkeley, "All's Fair In Love And War." I highly recommend this film for people who enjoy classic movie musicals; and fans of the actors in this film would do well to add this one to their collections.
The last of a cycle - mediocre film, good package
Douglas M | 11/16/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"By 1937, the Hays Code had removed the sting from Warner Brother's famous musicals and this film was the last of the cycle. A cynical farce about insurance salesmen, it has a touch more plot than most of its predecessors. The merits include:
- Dick Powell, spirited, funny and underrated as usual, paired with wife Joan Blondell. Blondell had been regroomed into a very pretty leading lady and she and Powell's rapport is obvious. They play on a very intimate level with great warmth.
- excellent photography and production values.
- one outstanding song, "With Plenty of Money and You" which Powell sings prior to the opening credits and reprises in a charming scene with Blondell.
- Lee Dixon performing a great tap routine to "Speaking of the Weather", after "Let's put our heads together", one of those delightful songs which is tossed around the cast and the chorus girls at a garden party.
- a few witty lines, mainly delivered by Glenda Farrell as the usual predatory female.
Busby Berkeley was brought in to stage the finale and "All's fair in Love and War" is a dumb battle of the sexes. The staging is surprisingly flat and there is a lot of marching and not much performing. It's a dud.
The DVD print is in reasonable shape and there are plenty of extras. The technicolour short is another in a series of history lessons which Warners produced quite regularly at this time and they are uniformly awful. This one tells the story behind the Louisana purchase. Two cartoons are titled from 2 songs from the film. The best one has magazine covers coming to life with lots of topical references of the time. The most unusual extra is the inclusion of the remaining footage from the original Golddiggers film, the 2 strip technicolour "Golddiggers of Broadway", a very early 1929 talkie. If you are interested to see what a musical was like in the 20s, then the finale included, with a steady stream of acts, mostly good but completely anonymous, will interest you. This is before the musical was really established into its own format on film so it plays just as it would have on the stage.
The DVD is expensive but better value if purchased as part of the 2nd set of Busby Berkeley."
One of Berkeley's post-code productions
calvinnme | 05/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Busby Berkeley did his best work before the production code went in force. He thrived on tough dialogue, tough people, and tough situations. Unfortunately, the motion picture production code of 1935 was designed to wash away reality. Along with reality, the code washed away some of the potential energy from Berkeley's films. This is a good musical with plenty of good moments and a pretty good plot, with Dick Powell as an insurance agent that longs to break into show business. Joan Blondell is an ex-showgirl who is now a secretary. Victor Moore is a hypochondriac Broadway producer who wants to buy insurance from Powell and also has a couple of thieving partners. It's plenty of fun with some creative work by Berkeley as always, it's just not up to Berkeley's precode efforts.
Do note that this DVD, like the three disc Jazz Singer release from last fall, is advertised to include the two remaining excerpts from the lost 1929 film Gold Diggers of Broadway. However, the Jazz Singer did not have the "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" number, as it was advertised to have. This set should finally give us that last excerpt. The following are the extra features:
1997 documentary "Busby Berkeley: Going Through the Roof"
Technicolor historical short "The Romance of Louisiana"
Classic cartoons "Plenty of Money" and You and "Speaking of the Weather"
Two excerpts from 1929's "Gold Diggers of Broadway" (a lost film)