Review - "Dames" (1934) (Warner Bros.)

WriterDave By WriterDave, 29th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Musical

The world of splashy, big budget musicals is pretty much a thing of the past, although Hollywood seems be trying to revive the genre. Modern directors like Baz Luhrmann and Rob Marshall have taken cinematic tries at it. The musical is very much still part of the Broadway world fortunately. For the best movie musicals, one has to go back to the 1930's, however.

One, Two...Cha, Cha, Cha

While it takes forty-five minutes to get to the dance numbers, “Dames” is still worth-while viewing. The human kaleidoscope extravaganza that is ’Beautiful Dames’ is reason alone to see the picture. Even by today’s standards it’s super-duper. In fact, this out dances any showstopper in “Chicago.”

The usual cast of Warner Brothers contract players appear in “Dames.” Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler (one marvels how they continually have to pretend to fall in love movie after movie), Guy Kibbee, Joan Blondell, and Zasu Pitts round out the cast.

For some reason or other, Warner Brothers brought in a couple more song collaborators on this one, and yet the melodies are recycled from other films with the lyrics changed. It’s like they were trying to spoof their own music. ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ is another extremely creative number with Powell crooning away as dozens of “Ruby Keeler’s” traverse “New York.” Long before CGI, this musical number is a wonderment of cleverness.

Unfortunately, by 1934 the movie code coupled with powerful religious organizations made sure Busby Berkeley’s numbers were toned down of their “overt sexuality.” It is noticeably missing in the film (as compared to Berkeley’s earlier work like “42nd Street”). Still, Berkeley makes do and stages some amazing musical numbers replete with fine editing and choreography to bring down the house. One would never know it was the middle of the Great Depression with all the smiling faces, singing, and dancing!


Busby Berkeley, Dick Powell, Ruby Keeler

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author avatar WriterDave
Writing can be many things to many people. For me, it is a way of expression and understanding. Reviewing films, hopefully helps myself and others better understand and get more out of the film.

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author avatar M G Singh
6th Dec 2014 (#)

Great review. Just read your post

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