Gold Diggers makes some sort of screen history in that it’s the first of the ‘second editions’ of film musicals. In 1929 WB made Gold Diggers of Broadway. But the real feature of Gold Diggers of 1933 are the numbers staged by Busby Berkeley.
The film’s superiority to 42nd Street lies in the greater romance interest with a multiplicity of amorous complications wherein Warren William and Joan Blondell, and Guy Kibbee and Aline MacMahon, are paired off as sub-interest to the Ruby Keeler-Dick Powell coupling. The subromances become mild menances, for William and Kibbee are the Back Bay bluebloods who seek to quell the kid brother’s (Powell) stage romance. Kibbee is the family attorney and William the elder brother. They both fall for show girls as well.
Adaptation from the Avery Hopwood-David Belasco-Ina Claire original is as liberal as was the 1929 version. At least, in 1933, they don’t have Nick Lucas and Winnie Lightner warble numbers every other minute.
Once the numbers get going, nothing else matters. There are five impressive songs by Al Dubin and Harry Warren.
Some good trouping, especially where expert playing is necessary, to bolster the loose assignments, such as the difficult roles given William and Kibbee. Powell also overcomes the trite situation of the society blueblood with stage ambitions. For the rest, however, Keeler, Blondell and MacMahon are more or less faithful to their characters. Ned Sparks and Ginger Rogers also score.
1932/33: Nomination: Best Sound