Movies »Gold Diggers of 1935

I'll start by getting the unfair comparisons out of the way: Gold Diggers of 1935 is no Gold Diggers of 1933. Spending time with sassy chorus girls is far more fun than passing a couple of hours with a miserly rich family and, despite impressive large scale unison tapping, meat cleaver-based choreography, and oscillating pianos, none of the grand Busby Berkeley numbers here quite compare to the mythical Pettin' in the Park or Remember My Forgotten Man – though Lullaby of Broadway is pretty fantastic.

But comparisons are unfair – Gold Diggers of 1933 is a perfect movie, my favorite of the era's genre and impossible to match, but that doesn't mean that the (kind of, sort of) sequel isn't great fun.

1935 holds almost no resemblance to the first movie except that we see Dick Powell again, only instead of a wealthy 'juvenile' with big song and dance dreams, he's a summers-only hotel clerk on his way to becoming a doctor. He falls in love with Ann Prentiss, the buttoned-up daughter of a stingy millionairess who is unhappily engaged to the film's most confusing and intriguing character, T. Mosely Thorpe III.

Also extremely wealthy, Thorpe is a happy-looking, Ben Gazzara type and exactly what's wrong with him is unclear. He rides around in a chauffeured car with an emblem of his face surrounded by thorns, he's obsessed, seemingly to an autistic degree, with snuff, and at time appears either mentally handicapped or amnesiac – sometimes both.

Musical shopping sprees and charityshows take center stage, which is more than alright with me, in this breezy, wacky, fun-loving musical. Watch for the amazing outfits worn by Thorpe's scheming typist.

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Posted on October 5, 2009

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