For Sunday: Ginger Rogers sings “We’re In The Money” in Pig Latin

ginger rogers were in the money

As a movie buff, I always stand and salute whenever any of the “Gold Diggers” movies of the 1930s come on the air. I DVR them and play them over and over again.



This is from the first (and best) of them: “Gold Diggers of 1933.”  It opens with a cheerful song – “We’re In The Money,” a renunciation of the Depression – and ends with a very downbeat musical number, “Remember My Forgotten Man,” very sad indeed.



Not your usual movie.



Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler, Ginger Rogers, and Joan Blondell are featured, as well as some names that aren’t so well remembered: Warren William, Guy Kibbee, Aline MacMahon, Ned Sparks.


For me, one of the most astonishing things in this excellent movie is in the first sequence: Ginger Rogers singing “We’re In The Money” in Pig Latin.


Watch and be amazed.





Something light

something light

Since being diagnosed with an unpleasant medical condition, my attitudes have shifted subtly. In just a few weeks, yet!

I don’t think I need any philosophical lucubrations about life and death at the moment. I think what I need right now is some diversion.

So out the window with “Crime and Punishment” and the Book of Revelation.

I’m overdosing on the movies of the 1930s, especially the musicals. I’m currently watching “Love Me Tonight,” with Maurice Chevalier and Jeannette MacDonald, circa 1932. It’s well-written and cute, with some chirpy little songs.

If I wanted to be dark about it, I would point out that every single person in the cast is almost certainly dead by now: debonair Maurice and squeaky Jeannette, goofy Charles Butterworth, sardonic Charlie Ruggles, clever Myrna Loy.

But when I watch this cheery little film, they’re all as alive as can be, and having a wonderful time.

How about “Gold Diggers of 1933”? Delightful. And all of them gone: Ginger Rogers, Aline MacMahon, Ruby Keeler, Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, Warren William, Guy Kibbee.

But the film is like new: cheerful and tuneful.

This is the medicine I really need.

To quote “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”:


Nothing of gods, nothing of fate;

Weighty affairs will just have to wait.

Actors acting like actors


Partner was watching “Stage Door” a while back on TCM. If you haven’t seen it, kick yourself seven or eight times, then run out and see it. Not only does it have a dream cast – Katherine Hepburn, Gail Patrick, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball – it’s one of those perfect combinations of corny sentiment and real feeling that makes 1930s movies fun, and it’s got some good laughs.



But I had an epiphany while watching it over his shoulder the other night. It was Hepburn’s big “calla lily” scene; I won’t spoil it for you, but she’s supposed to be a Broadway actress, and she’s had a big personal shock in real life, and it makes her stage performance very intense. And I suddenly realized why so many of the best movies, and musicals, and plays are about show business. The performers understand what they’re doing. If you’re an actor, you may have a hard time getting into the mindset of a plumber or a priest or a call-girl, but it’s no trouble at all imagining what it’s like be an actor – you understand all of the motivations, and all of the situations. Start listing all the good shows about show business in your head: “A Chorus Line.” “All That Jazz.” “42nd Street.” “The Band Wagon.” “Gold Diggers of 1933.” “All About Eve.” “Sunset Boulevard.”



Oh, that last one. It’s a hall of reflecting mirrors. You see Gloria Swanson screening footage of her unfinished / unreleased silent movie “Queen Kelly,” which had been directed by . . . Erich von Stroheim, who plays the sepulchral Max. Even Cecil B. DeMille has a cameo! But, for me, the creepiest scene is that of Gloria playing bridge with the group of silent-movie survivors that William Holden calls “The Waxworks”: Buster Keaton, H. B. Warner, and Anna Q. Nilsson. They look like the living dead.



How aware were they of themselves in that scene? How aware were they that they were playing themselves: washed-up, forgotten has-beens?



Oh, they were completely aware.



Too depressing.



Cue the Gold Diggers!



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