Stories of Love and Jobs from the Coastside Film Society

Letter
posted by Joe Devlin
Wed, June 20, 2012
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Don’t miss the screening on Friday, June 22 at 7:30 p.m. of two serious works of art in Half Moon Bay.


Short: Taylor, the Latte Boy (4 minutes)

A music video by Rikki Condos and her friends from Pacifica’s Terra Nova High School. Cut to a Kristin Chenoweth song. Who’d have thought that love could be so caffeinated?


Feature: Gold Diggers of 1933 (96 minutes)

“Gold Diggers is as savvy and hip a denouncement of the status quo as hard times can produce.” — Erich Kuersten, Film Experience blog.

This film was recommended to us by a panel of economists who saw it as a superb parable of how smart people should behave during the last jobless recovery.  An 80-year-old Busby Berkeley musical extravaganza that can teach us how to weather the current financial storm? We had to check it out.

The movie opens with Ginger Rogers leading hundreds of showgirls dancing their hearts out while wearing only strategically placed gold coins and singing one of the show’s big hits — “We’re in the Money” — sometimes in Pig Latin. Yes, it is zany, but serious folks also believe that deep currents run underneath all this kaleidoscopic glitter.

John Greco of Twenty Four Frames calls the opening “ironic and iconic ... a brilliant start to what is probably the grittiest musical ever made.” The grit begins when the sheriff arrives to shut the rehearsal down and seize the property and costumes — including the coins keeping Ginger modest — to pay off the show’s debtors. Plenty more goes wrong; after all, “it’s the depression, dearie.”

This opening scene sets up the tone for the rest of the story. The three leads (played by Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondel and Aline MacMahon) are singers and dancers forced to share a tiny apartment with a single bed and one good audition dress. Of course there is a madcap struggle to come up with enough money to bring their show to life. Along the way there are a few mistaken identities, madcap love affairs and lots and lots of outrageously lavish musical numbers.

This a movie that is light-hearted, sexy and witty — but also has an underlying dark undertone and richly drawn characters that gave it enough gravitas to earn it a place in the National Film Registry.

Is Gold Diggers 1933 just a bit of frothy fun? Or as John Greco asserts, is it “One of the strongest political indictments to come from, not just a musical film, but from any film”?  Come to the screening and judge for yourself .

Parents be warned, Gold Diggers was produced before the film code of standards took effect. Lots of chorus girls are shown in various states of dress and undress and the dialog can be risqué in a 1930’s sort of way.

Community United Methodist Sanctuary
777 Miramontes St., Half Moon Bay
(corner of Johnston Street)
Suggested donation: $8 adults, $3 for children and students


More info at: www.hmbfilm.org

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