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Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 28 December 1936 (USA)
When two investors inform an opportunistic dancer that they can't fund an elderly stage producer's production, she suggests they get an insurance policy on the producer's life.

Director:

Lloyd Bacon

Writers:

Warren Duff (screen play), Richard Maibaum (based on the play by: "Sweet Mystery of Life") | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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A talented boxer and a gifted dancer hope to increase their waning popularity by inventing a fictitious love affair for the benefit of the tabloids.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dick Powell ... Rosmer Peak
Joan Blondell ... Norma Perry
Glenda Farrell ... Genevieve Larkin
Victor Moore ... J.J. Hobart
Lee Dixon ... Boop Oglethorpe
Osgood Perkins ... Morty Wethered
Charles D. Brown Charles D. Brown ... Hugo (as Chas. D. Brown)
Rosalind Marquis ... Sally
Irene Ware ... Irene
William B. Davidson ... Andy Callahan (as Wm. Davidson)
Olin Howland ... Dr. MacDuffy
Charles Halton ... Dr. Bell
Paul Irving Paul Irving ... Dr. Warshof
Harry C. Bradley ... Dr. Henry
Joseph Crehan ... Chairman
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Storyline

Stage-producer J.J. Hobart, is going to put on a new show, but he doesn't know that his two partners lost the money at the stock market. Insurance salesman Rosmer Peek falls in love with ex chorus-girl Joan Blondell, who's friend Genevieve tries to land on one of J.J Hobart's partners. They come up with the idea to insure J.J. for $1 Million, to get the money back when he dies. Rosmer sells him the policy. After the insurance company finds out that he's only a hypochondriac, an attempt to kill him accidentally fails, and Genevieve falls in love with J.J. But when J.J. is informed that he is putting on a show with no money he has a breakdown. The only possibility to restore his health is putting on the show, in spite of the lack of money. Written by Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 December 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vampiresas 1937 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "Hush Mah Mouth" by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg was written for the picture but not used in the final print. See more »

Goofs

(at around 20 min) A string used to make a stack of books fall onto Dick Powell's head is clearly visible against the white paper background. See more »

Quotes

Genevieve Larkin: It's so hard to be good under the capitalist system!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The usual disclaimer goes to great lengths to assure us that "The names of all characters -- The characters themselves -- The story - all incidents and institutions portrayed in this production are fictitious -- And no identification with actual persons, living or deceased, is intended or should be inferred." See more »

Connections

Followed by Gold Diggers in Paris (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Bermuda Buggy Ride
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Sanford Green
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life Insurance
17 August 2001 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

GOLD DIGGERS OF 1937 (Warner Brothers, 1936), directed by Lloyd Bacon, is the third musical in the yearly-titled series with the choreography by Busby Berkeley. Released in theaters as a Christmas attraction of 1936, I find it to be a notch below the 1935 edition and no where near as good as the one of 1933, but still acceptable entertainment, highlighted with a show-stopping musical finale.

The story begins at a convention in Atlantic City where Andy Callahan (William B. Davidson) of Good Life Insurance Company tries to encourage his salesmen to go out and sell. Rosmer "Ross" Peek (Dick Powell) and "Boop" Oglethorpe (Lee Dixon, in his feature film debut) are his two top insurance salesmen who lead the men into singing their way to the train station for their destination being New York City. While on the train, Boop becomes acquainted with a Southern gal named Sally (Rosalind Marquis); Ross meets up with Norma Perry (Joan Blondell), a stranded showgirl accompanied by Genevieve Larkin (Glenda Farrell), who in turn meets Monty Wethered (Osgood Perkins, father of Anthony Perkins), a crooked backer of JJ Hobart Productions. Rosmer helps Norma by offering her a position as his secretary at the insurance firm. As for Genevieve, she joins forces with Monty's assistant, Mr. Hugo (Charles D. Brown), another chiseler who has pocketed and lost most of Hobart's investments. They want to get the 59-year-old theatrical bachelor producer, JJ Hobart (Victor Moore) to take on an insurance policy by having Genevieve arrange to have Norma get Ross to meet up with him. After Hobart passes the million dollar insurance policy physical with Ross hired as his agent, Monty and Hugo try their best to see that Hobart meets with an "accident." But when all else fails, Hobart eventually does land in the hospital after Genevieve has a change of heart and tells him the truth. It is then up to the younger crowd, who feel that Hobart might die, to do away with the crooks Monty and Hugo and help put Hobart's upcoming show together.

Songs featured include: "The Life Insurance Song," "Speaking of the Weather" and "Let's Put Our Heads Together" By E.Y. Harburg and Harold Arlen; "With Plenty of Money and You" and "All's Fair in Love and War" by Harry Warren and Al Dubin. Dick Powell, with his pencil-thin mustache, sings "With Plenty of Money and You" before the opening titled cast and credits. He reprises the hit money song to Blondell later on in the story as he accompanies her home from their dinner date. "Speaking of the Weather" also gets to be heard twice, first in the insurance office sung by Powell to Blondell, later sung by guests at the pool and garden party with Lee Dixon doing his "puppet on a string" tap-dancing solo. Also sung during the party sequence is "Let's Put Our Heads Together" (a pretty tune introduced by Powell). Of the songs presented, "All's Fair in Love and War" is the only number not part of the storyline. It's a ten minute staged production, part of the JJ Hobart Revue, compliments of Busby Berkeley and his display of chorus girls marching in military fashion and flag waving. This well choreographed finale was nominated for Best Dance Direction, and one of the few highlights of the film.

Victor Moore, a pudgy bald character actor of numerous comedies, comes off best here. Besides being an amusing comedian whose catch phrase if, "Life begins at 59," the scene that stands out most is the moment he gets sentimental in telling gold-digger Genevieve (Farrell) of he being a lonely old man of the theater whose life has now been fulfilled by her presence in making him feel young again, and now wanting to marry her. Even Farrell manages to present herself as a gold-digger with a heart of gold, and she carries this particular scene well without making it appear silly. As for Powell, his character at times appears to be more foolish than funny, but makes up for it during the romantic and singing spots.

THE GOLD DIGGERS OF 1937 became available on DVD in 2008, and can bee seen broadcast on Turner Classic Movies. Look fast for a young Jane Wyman in the early portion of the movie with one line, "Happy days are here again" as she and other show girls watch a parade of insurance men entering the train, and Susan Fleming (Mrs. Harpo Marx) in a small role as a secretary billed as Lucille. (***)


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