Continuing the mini-reviews of films featuring Aitkin’s native-born 1930’s movie star that I began in the Feb. 3 issue of the Age, I’ll consider three of his movies that tie in with social issues that are still significant today.
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Gold Diggers of 1933 might seem frivolous at a glance, a romantic, comedic musical with a thin plot about the son of a rich family covertly writing songs for Broadway shows and falling in love with a chorus girl. Warren William plays his older brother, setting out to stop this disreputable involvement in show business and falling victim to the charms of another chorus girl, played by Joan Blondell. This is all just an excuse for fantastic, extravagant Busby Berkeley musical numbers. The last of these, however, is strikingly serious and powerful, Remember my Forgotten Man, about society’s neglect of World War I veterans during the Great Depression. Clever use of conveyor belts creates a haunting scene of soldiers marching triumphantly off to war and at the same time, wounded and downtrodden back from it.