Gold Diggers of 1937


1h 40m 1936
Gold Diggers of 1937

Brief Synopsis

A group of insurance salesmen try to get into show business.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 28, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Sweet Mystery of Life by Richard Maibaum, Michael Wallace and George Haight (New York, 11 Oct 1935).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Synopsis

After their show closes in Atlantic City, a group of showgirls decide gold digging is the only way to make money. They put this philosophy into action when a group of insurance salesmen boards the same train they are taking back to New York. On the train, showgirl Norma Perry accidentally runs into Rosmer "Ross" Peek's compartment. When he learns she wants to leave show business for a regular job, he gives her a card to take to his boss, Andy Callahan. Norma succeeds in obtaining a stenographer's job at the insurance company, and it pleases her that Ross works in the same office. Meanwhile, her friend, Genevieve Larkin, gets a part in a new Broadway show. When she learns that the company doesn't have the money to produce the show, she suggests that producers Morty Wetherad and Hugo insure the life of J. J. Hobart for a million dollars and make themselves the beneficiaries. That way, when he dies, they will have the money they need for the show. Hobart is an aging hypochondriac who is convinced he is at death's door. Although Ross is not high-powered enough to sell Hobart on the idea of life insurance, Morty finally convinces him of its advantages, and Ross gets credit for the sale. At first Ross is the star of the insurance company because of his large sale, but when Callahan realizes how old Hobart is, he is afraid that he will not be able to pass the physical. He does pass, however, and now Ross is determined to keep him alive as long as possible so he can reap the rewards of his sale. Morty and Hugo, on the other hand, try to hasten Hobart's demise, but after learning of his good health, Hobart is revived. Despite all efforts to the contrary, he starts acting younger every day. Morty and Hugo suggest that Genevieve seduce Hobart in order to wear him out, but she double-crosses them by falling in love with him. Meanwhile, Ross learns about the money needed to produce the show and talks Callahan into investing in it to save the company the million dollars it would have to pay if Hobart died from the shock of knowing he was broke. The rest of the cast raises money however they can. After the show proves to be a success, Genevieve and Hobart marry and Norma and Ross decide to follow their lead.

Photo Collections

Gold Diggers of 1937 - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936), starring Joan Blondell and Dick Powell. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.

Videos

Movie Clip

Gold Diggers Of 1937 (1936) - The Boston Bluntingtons Joan Blondell as jobless showgirl Norma is sitting out her friends’ hunt for generous men-folk on the train from Atlantic City but winds up having to flee a hoarde of hungry insurance salesmen, taking refuge in a sleeper where she meets aspiring musician and for-now salesman Rosmer (Dick Powell, Blondell’s new husband at the time!), early in Gold Diggers Of 1937, 1936.
Gold Diggers Of 1937 (1936) - All's Fair In Love And War Busby Berkeley’s dance direction at last with some scale in the finalè number, Dick Powell and Lee Dixon, with Joan Blondell and Rosalind Marquis, in a Harry Warren/Al Dubin original composition for Warner Bros., in what was technically the 5th film in the series (counting the lost silents), in Gold Diggers Of 1937, 1936.
Gold Diggers Of 1937 (1936) - Life Insurance Song From director Lloyd Bacon and Warner Bros., opening with William Davidson as the insurance big-wig pulling bons vivants Rosmer (Dick Powell) and sidekick Oglethorpe (Lee Dixon) to the Atlantic City convention stage for a nutty original by Harold Arlen and E.Y. “Yip” Harburg, in Gold Diggers Of 1937, 1936, also starring Glenda Farrell and Joan Blondell.
Gold Diggers Of 1937 (1936) - The Broker Ripped His Pants From the opening at an Atlantic City insurance salesman’s convention, to the train station where chorus girls Genevieve and Norma (Glenda Farrell, Joan Blondell) lament the collapse of their musical, with Irene Ware as “Irene” and Rosalind Marquis as Sally, and Iris Adrian as snooty Verna, the first appearance for all, in Warner Bros.’ Gold Diggers Of 1937, 1936.
Gold Diggers Of 1937 (1936) - Speaking Of The Weather Dick Powell and Joan Blondell, who married in September of 1936, before this picture was released December 26, with as cute a number as any they did, another Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg original, begun after she, the newly hired secretary, ribs him, the dilettante insurance salesman, for not finding her a job, in Gold Diggers Of 1937, 1936.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
Dec 28, 1936
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
The Vitaphone Corp.; Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play Sweet Mystery of Life by Richard Maibaum, Michael Wallace and George Haight (New York, 11 Oct 1935).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 40m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
12 reels

Award Nominations

Best Dance Direction

1937

Articles

Gold Diggers of 1937


The good spirits, good jokes and great dance numbers in Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) were enough to cure even a hypochondriac. In fact, that's exactly what they did when legendary stage clown Victor Moore returned to the screen after a two-year absence to star as a chronically ill producer whose maladies are all in his head. Dick Powell takes top billing as the insurance man conned into selling Moore a million dollar policy and then has to keep him in good health by turning his latest show into a smash. With numbers by two of the world's best songwriting teams -- Harry Warren and Al Dubin and Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg -- it couldn't miss.

Gold Diggers of 1937 was the third entry in Warners' profitable musical series and raked in the cash just like its predecessors. This entry had an unusually strong script, adapted from the minor stage hit Sweet Mystery of Life. Among the play's three authors was Richard Maibaum, later the writer of such James Bond favorites as From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964).

Although he was trying to move into directing, Busby Berkeley was confined to staging the musical numbers for this outing, with Lloyd Bacon -- who had teamed with him on Warners' first great musical, 42nd Street (1933)-- in the director's chair. Initially Arlen and Harburg, who would later team up for The Wizard of Oz (1939), had been signed to provide the score, but Berkeley didn't care for their work. Instead, he brought in the team of Warren and Dubin, who had done the songs for the previous two Gold Diggers films as well as Dames (1934) and 42nd Street. They provided him with the hit " With Plenty of Money and You," subtitled "The Gold Diggers' Lullaby," and the finale, "All's Fair in Love and War."

For the latter, Berkeley staged one of his most grandiose numbers. Leading lady Joan Blondell led a chorus of 104 women in white military uniforms as they tapped their way through a series of military formations with Berkeley's trademarked geometric patterns. Berkeley used Warners' largest soundstage to create an all-black space for the number. Fifty-foot tall black drapes created the backdrop, while wind machines made the dancers' military flags wave impressively. And between shots, a team of moppers wearing only lambs' wool socks on their feet, swarmed over the black floor to eliminate any scuff marks.

Aside from Moore, most of the cast came from the Warner Bros. stock company of contract players. Powell was still the studio's most popular musical leading man, years away from the image change that would turn him into a tough detective in Murder, My Sweet (1944). Blondell, who was married to Powell off-screen, had risen from the ranks of supporting players to a starring role as Moore's wisecracking secretary and leading lady. Glenda Farrell played a gold-digging chorus girl, a staple of the Warners' musicals of the '30s and a role she had played many times before.

Buried in the chorus was an unbilled actress destined for greater things. Although she only had one line in Gold Diggers of 1937, "Girls, we're saved!" Jane Wyman would soon catch the attention of Warners' producers and begin a slow climb to the top. She had only recently signed with Warners. When she tested, the studio's casting director said, "She has something. Now let's find out what the hell it is!" By the time she made this, her fourth Warner Bros. film, her co-stars were already impressed with her discipline and high spirits. Someone in the publicity department dubbed her "The Hey-Hey Girl," and when asked her ambitions, she stated, "To be not just an actress but the actress at the studio." (Quoted in Lawrence J. Quirk, Jane Wyman: The Actress and the Woman). It would take more than ten years, but by the time she won her Oscar® for Johnny Belinda in 1948, the once-unbilled chorus girl would indeed be the studio's top dramatic star.

Producer: Earl Baldwin
Director: Lloyd Bacon
Screenplay: Warren Duff
Based on the Play Sweet Mystery of Life by Richard Maibaum, Michael Wallace, George Haight
Cinematography: Arthur Edeson
Art Direction: Max Parker
Music: Leo F. Forbstein, Harold Arlen, Harry Warren
Principal Cast: Dick Powell (Rosmer Peck), Joan Blondell (Norma Perry), Victor Moore (J.J. Hobart), Osgood Perkins (Morty Wethered), Iris Adrian (Verna), Jane Wyman, Marjorie Weaver (Chorus Girls).
BW-101m. Closed captioning.

by Frank Miller
Gold Diggers Of 1937

Gold Diggers of 1937

The good spirits, good jokes and great dance numbers in Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) were enough to cure even a hypochondriac. In fact, that's exactly what they did when legendary stage clown Victor Moore returned to the screen after a two-year absence to star as a chronically ill producer whose maladies are all in his head. Dick Powell takes top billing as the insurance man conned into selling Moore a million dollar policy and then has to keep him in good health by turning his latest show into a smash. With numbers by two of the world's best songwriting teams -- Harry Warren and Al Dubin and Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg -- it couldn't miss. Gold Diggers of 1937 was the third entry in Warners' profitable musical series and raked in the cash just like its predecessors. This entry had an unusually strong script, adapted from the minor stage hit Sweet Mystery of Life. Among the play's three authors was Richard Maibaum, later the writer of such James Bond favorites as From Russia With Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964). Although he was trying to move into directing, Busby Berkeley was confined to staging the musical numbers for this outing, with Lloyd Bacon -- who had teamed with him on Warners' first great musical, 42nd Street (1933)-- in the director's chair. Initially Arlen and Harburg, who would later team up for The Wizard of Oz (1939), had been signed to provide the score, but Berkeley didn't care for their work. Instead, he brought in the team of Warren and Dubin, who had done the songs for the previous two Gold Diggers films as well as Dames (1934) and 42nd Street. They provided him with the hit " With Plenty of Money and You," subtitled "The Gold Diggers' Lullaby," and the finale, "All's Fair in Love and War." For the latter, Berkeley staged one of his most grandiose numbers. Leading lady Joan Blondell led a chorus of 104 women in white military uniforms as they tapped their way through a series of military formations with Berkeley's trademarked geometric patterns. Berkeley used Warners' largest soundstage to create an all-black space for the number. Fifty-foot tall black drapes created the backdrop, while wind machines made the dancers' military flags wave impressively. And between shots, a team of moppers wearing only lambs' wool socks on their feet, swarmed over the black floor to eliminate any scuff marks. Aside from Moore, most of the cast came from the Warner Bros. stock company of contract players. Powell was still the studio's most popular musical leading man, years away from the image change that would turn him into a tough detective in Murder, My Sweet (1944). Blondell, who was married to Powell off-screen, had risen from the ranks of supporting players to a starring role as Moore's wisecracking secretary and leading lady. Glenda Farrell played a gold-digging chorus girl, a staple of the Warners' musicals of the '30s and a role she had played many times before. Buried in the chorus was an unbilled actress destined for greater things. Although she only had one line in Gold Diggers of 1937, "Girls, we're saved!" Jane Wyman would soon catch the attention of Warners' producers and begin a slow climb to the top. She had only recently signed with Warners. When she tested, the studio's casting director said, "She has something. Now let's find out what the hell it is!" By the time she made this, her fourth Warner Bros. film, her co-stars were already impressed with her discipline and high spirits. Someone in the publicity department dubbed her "The Hey-Hey Girl," and when asked her ambitions, she stated, "To be not just an actress but the actress at the studio." (Quoted in Lawrence J. Quirk, Jane Wyman: The Actress and the Woman). It would take more than ten years, but by the time she won her Oscar® for Johnny Belinda in 1948, the once-unbilled chorus girl would indeed be the studio's top dramatic star. Producer: Earl Baldwin Director: Lloyd Bacon Screenplay: Warren Duff Based on the Play Sweet Mystery of Life by Richard Maibaum, Michael Wallace, George Haight Cinematography: Arthur Edeson Art Direction: Max Parker Music: Leo F. Forbstein, Harold Arlen, Harry Warren Principal Cast: Dick Powell (Rosmer Peck), Joan Blondell (Norma Perry), Victor Moore (J.J. Hobart), Osgood Perkins (Morty Wethered), Iris Adrian (Verna), Jane Wyman, Marjorie Weaver (Chorus Girls). BW-101m. Closed captioning. by Frank Miller

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Busby Berkeley received an Academy Award nomination as dance director for the "Love and War" number. For more information on Warner Bros.' "Gold Digger" films, for Gold Diggers of 1933.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1936

Released in United States 1936