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Friday, November 14, 2008
Gold Diggers of 1933 (Busby Berkeley/1933) -- I just watched this movie twice. Here are some reasons you might enjoy watching it, too:

1. GINGER ROGERS!! I love Ginger Rogers! She's funny, she's beautiful in a human way, and best of all she's a 12th degree black belt SASS MASTER. She's barely in this which is a shame, but when she's on the screen I don't care about anyone else. (plus, she's expert in pig latin!)

2. To answer the following questions: is Zac Efron the Dick Powell of the new millennium, or was Dick Powell the Zac Efron of 1933? Ruby Keeler looks kind of like Katie Holmes in this picture, right? RIGHT.

3. It's racy. So racy they even have John Waters in one of the accompanying documentaries. (He speaks about the huge production number Pettin' in the Park, but the movie is pretty suggestive outside the confines of that particular song as well.) It was made after the Hays Production Code was enacted, but right before they actually started enforcing it.

4. Inexplicable roller skating. Well, it's not exactly inexplicable -- it's roller skating as a form of commuting AND police transportation, right in the middle of the aforementioned highly suggestive song, Pettin' in the Park.

5. I love how the big Busby Berkeley dance numbers allegedly happen on a Broadway stage, yet they're often HUGE with a cast of 100's that could really only conceivably happen in a Hollywood sound stage or an airplane hangar. They do usually end with the flourish of a curtain coming down, but even so, that's a lot of disbelief you have to suspend. But they are so freaking bizarre and beautiful, I don't care at all!

6. The whole thing ends with a giant production number about forgotten men and the bread lines. This sounds strange and maybe it is a little strange to have this huge marching formation of homeless former soldiers at the end of a fairly raunchy sex comedy, but it was very topical and I think kind of risky at the time.

7. As Gold Digger movies go, I found this much more enjoyable than How to Marry a Millionaire. Joan Blondell is aces.

8. Billy Barty = creepiest roller skating baby EVER. (or maybe it's charming and my charmometer is broken.)

9. If you're looking to add to your list of comedies that deal with the Great Depression (My Man Godfrey, Sullivan's Travels), this is a good one. I don't think it's as good as either of those (both wonderful), but it has Busby Berkely production numbers including inexplicable roller skating and Ginger Rogers singing in pig latin. That counts for a lot in my book.

10. The clothes are fantastic.

I couldn't decide what youtube video to include since there are so many available! the trailer was tempting, but I decided you can't go wrong with Ginger.

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