Gold Diggers of 1937

Gold Diggers of 1937

Theatrical poster
Directed by Lloyd Bacon
Produced by Jack L. Warner
Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay by Warren Duff
Based on Sweet Mystery of Life
Richard Maibaum
Michael Wallace
George Haight
Starring Dick Powell
Joan Blondell
Glenda Farrell
Victor Moore
Music by Harold Arlen (music)
E.Y. Harburg (lyrics)
Harry Warren (music)
Al Dubin (lyrics)
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Edited by Thomas Richards
Release dates
  • December 26, 1936 (1936-12-26)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Gold Diggers of 1937 is a Warner Bros. movie musical directed by Lloyd Bacon with musical numbers created and directed by Busby Berkeley. The film stars Dick Powell and Joan Blondell, who were married at the time, with Glenda Farrell and Victor Moore.

The film features songs by the teams of Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg, Harry Warren and Al Dubin. It was based on the play "Sweet Mystery of Life" by Richard Maibaum, Michael Wallach and George Haight, which ran briefly on Broadway in 1935.[1][2] Warren Duff wrote the screenplay with the assistance of Tom Warren, who was billed as "Screenplay constructor".

This is the fifth movie in Warner Bros.' series of "Gold Digger" films, following the now Lost film The Gold Diggers (1923) and Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929). And a remake of the earlier film Gold Diggers of 1933 (which was the first to feature Busby Berkeley's extravagant production numbers) and Gold Diggers of 1935.[3] The film was followed by Gold Diggers in Paris (1938).


Meek, aging, hypochondriac stage producer J.J. Hobart (Victor Moore), who always thinks he is about to die, is going to mount a new show, but his partners Morty Wethered (Osgood Perkins) and Tom Hugo (Charles D. Brown) lost the money for the show in the stock market. On the advice of chorus girl Genevieve Larkin (Glenda Farrell), they insure J.J. for a million dollars, so that when he dies, they will have the money they need to produce the show. Genevieve's friend, ex-chorus girl Norma Perry (Joan Blondell) is sweet on insurance salesman Rosmer "Rossi" Peck (Dick Powell), and he writes the policy.

When Rossi's boss, Andy Callahan (William B. Davidson) finds out how old J.J. is, he is afraid he wil not pass the physical, but when Hobart does, Rossi decides he has to keep J.J. alive as long as possible, to reap the rewards of his sale. On the other hand, Morty and Hugo have everything to gain if J.J. dies, and they try to help things along. When that fails, they talk Genevieve into seducing J.J., but she ends up falling in love with him instead. Rossi finds out the reason for the insurance policy, and talks his boss, Callahan, into investing in J.J.'s show, to save the company the money it would have to pay if J.J. dropped dead after learning he was broke and could not put on the show. When the show is a success Genevieve and J.J. get married, and so do Norma and Rossi.[4]


A Busby Berkeley production number from Gold Diggers of 1937.


The production numbers were created, designed, staged and directed by Busby Berkeley. Originally, all the songs for the film were to have been written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg, but Berkeley was dissatisfied and brought in Harry Warren and Al Dubin, who had contributed songs to his previous Warner Bros. films. Their song "With Plenty of Money and You" (which was subtitled "The Gold Diggers' Lullaby") became a hit.[5]


Although Busby Berkeley had directed Gold Diggers of 1935, for this film the director's chair was occupied by Lloyd Bacon, who had collaborated with Berkeley on 42nd Street. Gold Diggers of 1937 marked Victor Moore's return to the screen after a two-year absence following Gift of Gab, during which he starred in Anything Goes on Broadway.[6]

The film was in production at Warner Bros. Burbank studio beginning in mid-July 1936, and premiered on 26 December 1936. It went into general release two days later.[7]

Awards and honors

In 1937, Busby Berkeley was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Dance Direction for the "All's Fair in Love and War" production number.[8]

See also


  1. Richard Maibaum went on to write such James Bond films as From Russia with Love (1963) and Goldfinger (1964).
  2. IBDB Sweet Mystery of Life
  3. Warners also released a silent film, The Gold Diggers, in 1923, based on the same play that was used as source material for Gold Diggers of Broadway and Gold Diggers of 1933.
  4. IMDB Plot Summary, TCM Full Synopsis
  5. 1 2 Frank Miller "Gold Diggers of 1937" TCM article
  6. IBDB Victor Moore
  7. IMDB Release Dates
  8. IMDB Awards

External links

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