Gold Diggers of 1935

Gold Diggers of 1935

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Busby Berkeley
Produced by Robert Lord
Screenplay by Manual Seff
Peter Milne
Story by Robert Lord
Peter Milne
Starring Dick Powell
Adolphe Menjou
Gloria Stuart
Alice Brady
Music by Songs:
Harry Warren (music)
Al Dubin (lyrics)
Cinematography George Barnes
Edited by George Amy
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • March 16, 1935 (1935-03-16)


Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Gold Diggers of 1935 is an American musical film directed and choreographed by Busby Berkeley. Starring Dick Powell, Adolphe Menjou, Gloria Stuart and Alice Brady, featuring Winifred Shaw, Hugh Herbert and Glenda Farrell. The film is best known for the famous "Lullaby of Broadway" production number, which features Shaw singing the song which won Harry Warren and Al Dubin an Academy Award.

The movie was the fourth film of the Gold Diggers series of movie musicals, after the now lost silent film The Gold Diggers (1923), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929) and a remake of the earlier film Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933).[2] Both the original and the 1933 film made a great deal of money for Warner Bros. and Gold Diggers of 1935 was an attempt to repeat that success. It was followed by Gold Diggers of 1937 and Gold Diggers in Paris.


In the resort of Lake Waxapahachie, the swanky Wentworth Plaza is where the rich all congregate, and where the tips flow like wine. Handsome Dick Curtis (Dick Powell) is working his way through medical school as a desk clerk, and when rich, penny-pinching Mrs. Prentiss (Alice Brady) offers to pay him to escort her daughter Ann (Gloria Stuart) for the summer, Dick can't say no – even his fiancee, Arline Davis (Dorothy Dare) thinks he should do it. Mrs. Prentiss wants Ann to marry eccentric middle-aged millionaire T. Mosley Thorpe (Hugh Herbert), who's a world-renowned expert on snuffboxes, but Ann has other ideas. Meanwhile her brother, Humbolt (Frank McHugh) has a weakness for a pretty face: he's been married and bought out of trouble by his mother several times.

Every summer, Mrs. Prentiss produces a charity show for the "Milk Fund", and this year she hires the flamboyant and conniving Russian dance director Nicolai Nicoleff (Adolphe Menjou) to direct the show. The parsimonious Mrs. Prentiss wants to spend the least amount possible, but Nicoleff and his set designer Schultz (Joseph Cawthorn) want to be as extravagant as they can, so they can rake off more money for themselves, and for the hotel manager (Grant Mitchell) and the hotel stenographer Betty Hawes (Glenda Farrell), who's blackmailing the hapless snuffbox fancier Thorpe.

Of course, Dick and Ann fall in love, Humbolt marries Arline, and the show ends up costing Mrs. Prentiss an arm and a leg, but in the end she realizes that having a doctor in the family will save money in the long run.


Busby Berkeley's "Lullaby of Broadway" production number from Gold Diggers of 1935


The songs in Gold Diggers of 1935 were written by Harry Warren (music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), and the two production numbers were staged by Busby Berkeley.


Gold Diggers of 1935 was in production at Warner Bros. Burbank studios until 14 January 1935, and was released on 15 March of that year. During production a chorus dancer, Jack Grieves, died on the set due to acute indigestion.[3][5]

The film was Busby Berkeley's first time at the helm of a film as the official director, although he had his own unit at Warners to do the elaborate production numbers he conceived, designed, staged and directed, which were the major elements of the Warners musicals of that period.

Awards and honors

Harry Warren and Al Dubin received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Lullaby of Broadway", and Busby Berkeley was nominated for Best Dance Direction.[6]

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

See also


  1. Gold Diggers of 1935 at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. Warner Bros. had earlier filmed the same story as a silent film, The Gold Diggers in 1923.
  3. 1 2 TCM Notes
  4. Hirschhorn, Clive (1991) [1981]. The Hollywood Musical (2nd ed.). New York: Portland House. p. 101. ISBN 0-517-06035-3.
  5. "Dancer Drops Dead". The Rochester Evening Journal. January 11, 1935. Retrieved 2013-02-27.
  6. IMDB Awards
  7. "AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.
  8. "AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-13.

External links

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