Today I'm singing the praises of one of my favorite Pre-Code musicals: Gold Diggers of 1933. As I pointed out before, don't expect the same ol' song-and-dance routine of a film review, there are plenty of great ones out there — and by people, unlike myself, who don't confuse Busby Berkeley with Bugsy Siegel. In fact, when I first saw Gold Diggers of 1933, I was still very clueless about Pre-Code cinema. I didn't realize I was about to hit the jackpot when it came to sexual innuendo, side-boobs and coin-adorned lady parts!
Pettin' in the Park or "Oops, did I pop a Percocet and switch the channel to Skin to the Max!?" I'm thinking the lyrics may have inspired Robin Thick's Blurred Lines.
The one-sentence movie synopsis is this: three aspiring actresses (a.k.a. Gold Diggers) survive the Great Depression with their street-smarts intact and in the end, find success and love while putting on a show with a monumental social message. What keeps this simple formula from coming across cheap is it never asks the audience to forget the financial hardships outside the theater doors, making the film's powerful unorthodox ending an even bigger payoff.
Gold Diggers of 1933 had me singing a different tune about "old movie musicals " — thank the gods! It also clued me in more as to why my grandparent's generation (teenagers/young adults when the film was released) has been so full of sass, a healthy dose of crass and representin' with style and class. What has made me most appreciative is that it shows what I believe is the understated sense of social justice the Greatest Generation had at home in the states, which I feel is often overshadowed by other movements later in our history.
Next time this movie rolls around, dig in and watch it. You'll be richer for it.