Sunday, November 17, 2013

Now Playing: NOVEMBER 17, 1933

Last week the Universal drama Only Yesterday was the big winner at the Milwaukee box office, or so we can infer from its being held over for a second week. It probably won't be the champ this week, because Busby Berkeley is back.


Following the success of 42nd Street back in March, Gold Diggers of 1933 was a summer blockbuster, staying at the Warner for an extraordinary five weeks. For their third spectacular musical this year Warners piles it on by throwing James Cagney into the mix in his first musical starring role.

The film may need no introduction, but here's the trailer anyway from You'll be excused for thinking it's a Twentieth Century-Fox picture at first with that drumroll, but Warners will be excused, too, since there was no Twentieth Century Fox in 1933.

What are the other theaters throwing into this buzzsaw? Only Yesterday is standing its ground, but the New Garden goes with the latest in a popular Pre-Code series.

It may have been the Honolulu detective's greatest case, but this adaptation of the Earl Derr Biggers novel in which Chan first appeared is one of the few big-studio 1933 releases (along with Warners' notorious Convention City) to have gone lost. Actually several of the early Chans are lost, and I'm not sure why. Convention City was lost because it was considered unreleasable in the Code Enforcement era; perhaps later politically correct attempts to suppress the Chan films account for the loss of this one.

Meanwhile, the Palace tries to match Footlight Parade's quantity with the quality of a live nude dancer on stage -- and Popeye the Sailor Man

Faith Bacon was the legendary Sally Rand's principal rival as a fan dancer and actually sued Rand for stealing her gimmick. Bacon lost the battle for history and died, most likely by suicide, in 1956. Here she is somewhere in between, in a "soundie" uploaded to YouTube by vitajazz.

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