Gold Diggers in Paris (1938)


The final installment in the Gold Diggers series came with Gold Diggers in Paris (1938). With crooner Dick Powell in the leading male role in the three previous musical versions that Warner Brothers had released, in addition to a wide array of the studio’s other key musical talents, the studio found itself in control of a profitable series that pleased audiences throughout the Great Depression.

This addition to the series tells the story of Maurice Giraud, who is sent to New York to coordinate the Academy Ballet of America’s trip to Paris to compete for cash prizes at an international dance festival. A cab driver mistakenly takes him to the Club Ballé, which is a night club that is about to be closed up for good. The owners of the club, Terry Moore and Duke Dennis, know that Giraud is not where he is supposed to be but take advantage of the opportunity to solve their financial issues. They add ballet to their nightclub act when they hire ballet teacher Luis Leoni and his favorite pupil, Kay Morrow. Leoni and Morrow teach the chorus girls ballet as the boat heads for the Atlantic. Moore develops an interest in Morrow, but the arrival of his ex-wife, Mona, complicates the relationship. In the meantime, the actual ballet company head, Padrinsky, finds out the news and head to Paris. He is accompanied by Mike Coogan, a gangster, who is ready to punish Moore and Dennis. Characters and fists collide in Paris in an energetic finale.

The cast for this film is as follows:

  • Rudy Vallee as Terry Moore
  • Rosemary Lane as Kay Morrow
  • Hugh Herbert as Maurice Giraud
  • Allen Jenkins as Duke ‘Dukie’ Dennis
  • Gloria Dickson as Mona
  • Melville Cooper as Pierre LeBrec
  • Mabel Todd as Leticia
  • Fritz Feld as Luis Leoni
  • Curt Bois as Padrinsky
  • Edward Brophy as Mike Coogan
  • Eddie “Rochester” Anderson as Doorman
  • The Schnickelfritz Band as themselves
  • Carole Landis, Peggy Moran, and Diana Lewis appear as Gold Diggers.

This film was directed by Ray Enright and Busby Berkeley. As in the previous three films, Berkeley supervised the musical numbers. The film was produced by Hal B. Wallis and Samuel Bischoff and was written by Earl Baldwin, Warren Duff, Felix Ferry, Sig Herzig, and Peter Milne. The story was developed by Jerry Horwin, James Seymour, Jerry Wald, Richard Macaulay, and Maurice Leo.

The songwriting team of Harry Warren and Al Dubin reemerged in this film once again, contributing songs like “I Wanna Go Back to Bali”, “Latin Quarter”, “Let’s Drink to a Dream”, “Put That Down in Writing”, “Stranger in Paree”, and “Waltz of the Flowers”. Warren also went on to write two more songs with lyrics by Johnny Mercer called “My Adventure” and “Daydreaming All Night Long”.

While this is the last film of the series, there is speculation that it was to end with Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936). Conflict arose when Majestic Pictures attempted to cash in on the Gold Diggers name by naming a film Gold Diggers of Paris; however, Warner Brothers prevented this through legal action. It is possible that Warner Brothers’ filming of their own version of Gold Diggers in Paris was done to protect their trademark series of the decade.

Though the film does not feature the usual likes of Powell, Joan Blondell, or Ruby Keeler, some familiar faces and exceptional talents are featured in this film.

Read my full series on the Gold Digger films here:

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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