by Guest Blogger, Erich Kuersten (Acidemic)
Opening with hot chicks (including Ginger Rogers) naked behind gold coins singing "Where in the Money" in Pig Latin, GOLD DIGGERS is as savvy and hip a denouncement of the status quo as hard times can produce. Robert Dudley (the Weenie King!) plays the good-hearted producer who wants to put on a show about "men, walking, hungry, jobs! jobs! jobs!" with heart-of-gold-digger Joan Blondell, the "comic" beanpole Aline McMahon, and normie Ruby Keeler, who--as always--is assigned to sing and smooch with Dick Powell. Of course it turns out Powell's a trustafarian, pretending to struggle in the Village rather than spend some of his trust fund and live a little, but he's got no problem bank-rolling the show, leading to--hilariously!--the entrance of beloved rogues Warren Willian and Guy Kibbee! All they need is some emotional blackmail to get them swinging on a star (note to Obama, send gold diggers to discredit these republican antagonists and all will be well).
As with most all of Berkely's numbers,"The Forgotten Man" is really a stand-alone short film that starts out, perhaps, as a stage number on opening night, but soon expands and contracts and zooms in until we're in a whole other universe. Blondell goes from trying to stand up for her beaten-down beau against an unfeeling cop, to addressing the audience, and the world, directly, her hands outstretched in a massive, Brodway belt of a plea. Watching Obama last night I was reminded not of Jimmy Stewart's hoarse fillibuster in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, but Blondell, opening her human heart a mile wide to engulf the nation in a surge of compassion as the music marches inexorably onwards. It's a galvanizing moment when music number, plot, message and fourth wall breaking all merge seamlessly together to create the purest most direct kind of art, and I wanted to present here, on dear Nathaniel's fantastically actressexual blog, in celebration of Miss Blondell and all those brave, forgotten men still treading the pavement for jobs, jobs... jobs.