Wednesday, May 1, 2013

gold diggers of 1933

I have to thank my Tumblr friend and fellow Christoph Waltz enthusiast, Amelia, for sparking me to finally rent and see the amazing pre-Code musical Gold Diggers of 1933.  She did this by writing about it and its follow-up, Gold Diggers of 1937, on her fantastic film blog, More Stars Than in the Heavens.  If you like movies--especially classic films--I strongly recommend following Amelia's blog.  She is an excellent writer, and has, in a very short period of time, made my Must See Films list ridiculously long.  

I won't go into great detail about the film's plot.  Basically, it's about a group of four showgirls during the Depression.  The Busby Berkeley musical numbers are beautiful, bizarre, magical, and extremely moving, by turns.  Just go rent the movie and see it. 

My post here is going to be frivolously full of pictures of pretty costumes.

My favorite gal in the film was Aline MacMahon's Trixie.  She plays the Funny One, and maybe it's just because she's the only one with eyebrows, I thought she was the loveliest.  (I never quite understood that 1930s no eyebrows look.)  Trixie also wears the best clothes.

...Like this amazing macro herringbone print dress.  I've been a little obsessed with the Wiener Werkstätte movement lately, and this print reminds me of some of the textiles made by those artisans.

Ruby Keeler tap dancing in a great little plaid-accented outfit.  Love how the scarf pulls through her lapels.

Here's Aline MacMahon in another great print, this time an op art-y shadow plaid.

Ginger Rogers (who is more than a little freaky in the film's opening musical number--watch it and tell me what you think!) in diagonal stripes and cute little jacket.

Um, this bar?  Send it to my house.  Also love Joan Blondell's black gown, which is accented with a sparkly sequinned plaid.

I should probably mention that the costumes are by famed Australian-born costume designer Orry-Kelly.  He moved to Hollywood in 1932, so Gold Diggers was one of his earlier gigs.

THIS IS A JUMPSUIT.  Yes, I had to put that in all caps.  How cute is it?  And just look at Aline's face.  Is she not lovely?

Here's Guy Kibbee in another of my favorite costumes--a very Wiener Werkstätte-ish dressing gown.

I had to include some shots of the musical numbers.  This being a pre-Code film, those gals behind the screen get even more obviously naked than you see here.

In this number, the ladies are "playing" violins edged in neon.  When the lights come one, you can see the electrical cords.  Apparently, the performers would occasionally get shocked.  Hey, it's what you do for Art.



  1. Fun trivia about the "Shadow Waltz" number: there was a small earthquake while they were shooting, and the girls/crew nearly got electrocuted by their neon-edged violins.

    (Thanks for the shout-out, by the way!)

  2. I finally saw this a few months ago and was all "WHOA!!" Loved it. It was bizarre and laughable in spots but absolutely charming and eye-candy-licious.

  3. Thanks for sharing this Karen! Those musical numbers looks spectacular and that jumpsuit… amazing!


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