UNDEREMPLOYMENT CINEMA — Goldie Gets Along (1933)

This relatively short film packs a lot of activity into its 75 minutes. Goldie lives in Crestview, N.J. with a puritanical aunt and her family who never fail to remind her how lucky she is to have been “rescued” from Paris after her mother died. After being berated by everyone in the house for returning from a night out at breakfast time, she storms out without a single possession. Goldie wants to get into the movies but even her fiancĂ©, who has just bought them a house, belittles her ambition. So she decides to hitchhike, if necessary, to get to Hollywood.

While it would be wrong to apply the standards of #metoo to a film made in 1933, it is difficult to determine if Goldie is using lecherous advances to her own advantage or just “using her feminine wiles” to stay a step ahead of the men who would use the body she is offering uo to get ahead.

Either way, Goldie is a quick study and is able to keep out of trouble and makes her way to Hollywood by “winning” a series of fraudulent beauty contests. And even in Hollywood, she plays the game to her advantage. Living as a grifter is difficult, though, and she winds up having some regrets about fleeing her life and her fiancĂ© back in New Jersey. Bill, the boyfriend, tracks her down, but it is difficult to understand what she sees in him, or vice versa. She was doing pretty well on her own. This is a pre-Code movie, but even so, a woman making it on her own, however feloniously, probably doesn’t seem like something a studio would want to promote.

The movie also allows itself to make fun of the movie industry a bit, and there is the almost obligatory montage sequence, but it has a very strange bit where the people seeking fame and fortune in Tinsel Town are interchanged with a variety of papier-mache heads.

Goldie is played by French actress Lili Damita, who was more famous for being married to Errol Flynn than for her career, in the end. (They divorced in 1942, btw.). What is very interesting about Damita is how she looks a bit like Garbo, is lit a bit like Garbo, and sounds a bit like Garbo despite being from different countries originally. Someone even makes a comment about her being like Garbo when she says she likes walking. Damita did make quite a few movies in both the silent and talkie eras. It was a nice little surprise to find this movie on TCM.




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