Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936): Fifth Musical in Warner’s Popular Series

Lloyd Bacon directed the musical Gold Diggers of 1937, with numbers created and staged by Busby Berkeley.

The film stars Dick Powell and Joan Blondell (who were married at the time), 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 on Broadway in 1935.

Gold Diggers Film Series

This is the fifth movie in Warner’s “Gold Digger” film series, after The Gold Diggers (1923) and Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), both of which lost. Gold Diggers of 1933, which was the first to feature Busby Berkeley’s extravagant production numbers, was followed by Gold Diggers of 1935, Gold Diggers of 1937, and Gold Diggers in Paris (1938).

Victor Moore plays the meek, aging, hypochondriac stage producer J.J. Hobart (Victor Moore), obsessed with death. He’s about 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.

Advised by chorus girl Genevieve Larkin (Glenda Farrell), they insure J.J. for one million dollars, so that when he dies, they will have the backing needed. Genevieve’s friend, ex-chorus girl Norma Perry (Joan Blondell) is enamored with insurance salesman Rosmer “Rossi” Peek (Dick Powell), and he writes the policy.

Rosmer 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.

In the end, the show is a success, and there are two marriages: Genevieve and J.J. and Norma and Rosmer.

Cast
Dick Powell as Rosmer ‘Rossi’ Peek
Joan Blondell as Norma Perry
Glenda Farrell as Genevieve ‘Gen’ Larkin
Victor Moore as J. J. Hobart
Lee Dixon as Boop Oglethorpe
Osgood Perkins as Morty Wethered
Charles D. Brown as Mr. Tom Hugo
Rosalind Marquis as Sally LaVerne
Irene Ware as Irene
William B. Davidson as Andy Callahan
Olin Howland as Dr. MacDuffy
Charles Halton as Dr. Bell