Dames (1934): Busby Berkeley Musical, Starring Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell

Dames, a Depression-era Busby Berkeley musical, is as grand and extravagant as expected of the idiosyncratic choreographer and director.

The slender plot is just a frame (an excuse) to contain the lavishly executed musical numbers.  Ezra Ounce (Hugh Herbert), a millionaire who spearheads a national anti-fun movement, is contrasted with his distant cousin Jimmy Higgens (Dick Powell), a producer of musical comedies. Gut Kibbee is reliably Ounce’s partner, Hemingway and the father of a charming daughter (Ruby Keeler), but he is also the “sugar daddy” of Mabel Anderson (Joan Blondell), Powell’s friend and co-worker.

The production numbers are staged to the music of Warren and Dubin, with such highlights as “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “The Girl on the Ironing Board,” the title number.

Running time: 95 minutes.

Directed by Ray Enright

DVD: March 21, 2006