'Gold Diggers of 1933'

'Gold Diggers of 1933'

A classic movie, full of visually striking images, great songs, hilarious dialogue and even pathos. This photo above is from one of those songs - "Pettin' in the Park." The cast are caught in a rainstorm and they go backstage to change out of their wet clothes. There is also a naughty "baby" (played by 9-year-old Billy Barty) who escapes from his "pram"...

Rather risqué for 1933, you might say? But choreographer Busby Berkeley enjoyed pushing against the limits of the Production Code - Footlight Parade the same year is equally good. Much stricter censorship arrived in 1934, but these films are hardly explicit - the scene shown above speeds by so fast you don't see much. It's mostly erotic by suggestion. The final number "Remember My Forgotten Man" is one of the great moments in cinema history.

Here's another Busby Berkeley fave: The Gang's All Here from 1943, which included Carmen Miranda as "The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat," which aroused controversy with its scantily clad women holding some very large bananas. It's now a male gay fave.


Berkeley himself was not gay but he managed to be married six times... If at first you don't succeed... And Carmen Miranda? By 1945 she was the highest paid woman entertainer in the U.S.