Not-to-Miss Film Series Coming to the Castro

Friday, December 23rd, 2005 | Film

The Castro is presenting a little retrospective of films by Busby Berkeley, from December 26-30. Any person seriously interested in art and film, and camp, should be there. I take that back, the films transcend camp in their visual precision and elegance. The plots are usually secondary to the musical productions, which are unparalleled in scale and inventiveness. The opening number of Golddiggers of 1933 features Ginger Rogers, at the height of the depression, singing, “We’re in the money” in pig latin. Footlight Parade addresses the advent of the talkie, with Jimmy Cagney starring as a producer who gets an idea to stage live musical numbers before movies which involve the most extreme suspension of belief with millions of extras and complicated waterfalls and even cars! on stage; Carmen Miranda sings “The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat” in The Gang’s All Here which also has Benny Goodman singing “Paduka,” and the most extraordinary musical production ever which starts with children dancing the Polka-dot Polka and the camera zooming in on one of their polka dots, which we enter and suddenly we’re in a kaleidoscopic extravaganza with millions of women running around the stage with giant polka dots. I forget which film this one is in, but another of my favorite numbers, which is also stunningly photographed, is “Lookin’ for my Shanghai Lil,” I think in Footlight Parade, with the camera zooming through a seedy smokey bar and each person picking up a phrase from the tune. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see these amazing films on the big screen! Forget about Effexor, Busby Berkeley is the cure for Depression! Join me next week, 10th row center!

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