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How many movie years have been as productive for a filmmaker as 1933 was for Busby Berkeley? I love 42nd Street, Roman Scandals and especially Footlight Parade, but like you this is the one I saw first, so I'm particularly fond of it for that reason, even though it's the only one I haven't seen in a cinema yet.

I really appreciate your writing on Mervyn LeRoy. I think his greatest strength as a filmmaker, at least during this period of his career, is his ability to be "concise" as you point out. LeRoy's succint storytelling provides a fascinating contrast to Berkeley's luxurious, sprawling dance sequences. A while back I wrote a piece on Five Star Final that noted a particularly economical scene.


Thanks Brian. I agree, the contrasting styles benefit the movie. Nearly everything I read about this film was heavy with info or opinions on Berkeley (after seeing his numbers I can understand why). I figured, why not take a shot at discussing some of the tasty stuff that the other director of Gold Diggers of 1933 put on film? Glad to see that the effort comes across. I'm looking forward to reading your prose about Five Star Final.

Update: I put a link to Brian's piece in the text of this post.


What a great post! This is by far the best entry I've read to date on Film of the Year - and that is really saying something. Keep up the great work! I (like many others I suspect) am an avid reader but rarely post a comment. I think that you have legions of silent fans out here!


That's really kind of you to say, movie_star. Thank you. One of my goals is to improve the writing each time I post. Thanks too for still reading (I remember your last comment was waaay back in the teens or even before) the blog. Now, please excuse me while I go somewhere private and blush :)


I watched the whole BB box set earlier this year, and 'Gold Diggers of 1933' was far and away my favorite of the bunch. When I saw the link to this piece on Greencine.com, I knew I had to check it out. I'm glad I did. It was a great article.


Hey Ju-osh, thanks for checking in and for the nice thoughts on the article. GreenCine? I must be doing something right.

Pacze Moj

Excellent post!

When I started reading your piece, I was sure I wouldn't finish -- given my lack of enthusiasm for (and knowledge about) Hollywood musicals; but, I proved myself wrong: read the whole thing, enjoyed immensely, learned, and checked my film collection for some Mervyn LeRoy.

Well-written, well-researched posts like this one are gems of Internet film criticism: Passionate and knowledgeable.

Thanks for the time and effort.



Pacze Moj - Thank you for the thoughtful feedback and inspiration. It's gratifying to know one has written something that works for another writer.

Among the films LeRoy directed that he considered his "most important" are: Little Caesar, I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang, Five Star Final, Gold Diggers of 1933, Quo Vadis, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Oil Lamps for China, They Won't Forget, and Random Harvest. I've only seen the first six, but plan to see them all. If you screen a LeRoy film please share your opinion with us.

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