Gold Diggers in Paris
Cast & Crew
When the Paris Exhibition decides to hold an International Dance Festival, Maurice Giraud is dispatched to the United States to contact the American Academy Ballet. Giraud confuses the ballet with the bankrupt Club Bali, which is owned by Terry Moore and Duke Dennis, and, charmed by the showgirls, invites them to Paris, all expenses paid. Terry and Duke jump at the chance to leave town and hire ballet teacher Luis Leoni to teach the dancers some ballet on the way to Europe. In addition, they hire Leoni's sole remaining student, Kay Morrow, whom Terry finds very attractive. The final member of the troupe is Mona, Terry's ex-wife, who arranges things so that she and Kay are roommates. Padrinsky, the head of the real American Academy Ballet, learns what has happened and cables the ship. Giraud is upset until a "talking dog," actually a ventriolquist hired by Terry and Duke, persuades him that Terry and Duke are telling the truth and Padrinsky is a liar. In Paris, the bluff works until Pierre Le Brec, a member of the festival, decides to visit rehearsals. To fool Le Brec, Kay suggests that they confine rehearsals to her balletic numbers. Meanwhile, Duke befriends Mike Coogan, a gangster, who unknown to Duke, has been sent to get rid of him and Terry for Padrinsky. When Duke tells Mike that there is a man making trouble for him, Mike offers to "take care of him." Duke describes Le Brec to Mike, but by accident, Mike knocks out Leoni. Although Le Brec loves Kay's numbers, when Padrinsky turns up in Paris, he demands that the entire Club Bali group leave the hotel. Kay and Terry have fallen in love, but when Kay discovers by accident that Mona and Terry were married, she believes that Terry consciously omitted telling her about his divorce and breaks off their relationship. Nonetheless, she forces her way into Le Brec's office to beg him not to deport the dancers. She then manages to sneak Mike and Padrinski's names onto the deportation orders and rushes back to organize the company for the contest. The troupe competes and wins the contest, while Kay and Terry are reconciled.
Pedro De Cordoba
George De Gombert
George Offerman Jr.
Charles De Ravenne
Carlos J. De Valdez
Leo F. Forbstein
C. A. Riggs
Gold Diggers in Paris
The plot of Gold Diggers in Paris takes the dance troupe from Rudy Vallee's nightclub to the City of Light to take part in a ballet contest at the Paris Exposition, a world's fair "dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life" that actually took place from May through November of 1937 in the area around the Eiffel Tower. The film begins with footage of the real Exposition's elegant, Deco-style buildings. In the movie, it turns out that inviting the dancers to take part in the competition is a case of mistaken identity, but the Gold Diggers, with their Yankee charm and hoofing skills, naturally triumph over the snooty classical ballet artistes.
Adding to the fun is the Schnickelfritz Orchestra, a comic band from Minnesota whose wild slapstick musical antics apparently inspired the Spike Jones band of the 1940s and '50s. Strong comedy support is also provided by Hugh Herbert as the befuddled competition envoy, Fritz Feld as a fussy ballet teacher, and Curt Bois, a recent refugee from Nazi Germany, as the conceited "serious" ballet dancer for whom the invitation was actually intended. Even crooner Rudy Vallee, who plays the romantic lead opposite Rosemary Lane, got a chance to show off his comic chops, doing imitations of French singing star Maurice Chevalier and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After his pop singer days were over, it was Vallee's talent for comedy that brought him new success in films and theater, starting in the 1940s.
For the only time in a Gold Diggers film, the seven Gold Diggers who have speaking roles in the movie were listed by name in the opening credits. All of them went on to have minor acting careers. Several retired after marrying well and successfully, including Diana Lewis, who married actor William Powell, and Peggy Moran, who wed director Henry Koster. Only Carole Landis became notorious for her turbulent private life, including multiple marriages and an affair with the married actor Rex Harrison which ended when she took her own life at age 29.
As in all the Gold Diggers films, the musical sequences directed by Busby Berkeley were the highlight of Gold Diggers in Paris. There are only two big numbers, "I Wanna Go Back to Bali," at the beginning of the film, and "The Latin Quarter," at the end. The former, which sets up the plot of the shabby little night club troupe, is brisk and fun but intentionally low-rent. Only "The Latin Quarter" finale gets the full Berkeley treatment: the canted camera angle on the endless, kicking line of chorus girls, the high, wide, deep shot of dozens of dancers, and the spectacular grand finale featuring an enormous naval officer cap, closing out the Gold Diggers series in grand style. In a 1970s interview, Berkeley recalled that when lyricist Al Dubin left Warner Bros. later that year, "I guess we all realized that an era was coming to an end. The next year, when Harry Warren and Dick Powell and I all left Warner's, it did."
By Margarita Landazuri
Gold Diggers in Paris
The Variety review notes that Vallee does brief imitations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Maurice Chevalier in the film. For more information on Warner Bros.' "Gold Digger" pictures, for Gold Diggers of 1933.