Busby Berkeley - Sex, Surrealism, and Song - Thur. April 14th - 8PM

Oddball Films presents Busby Berkeley: Sex, Surrealism, and Song, a night of mind-blowing musical numbers from the wildest imagination in Hollywood choreography all on 16mm film from the archive. Clearly influenced by the concurrent surrealist movement in art and avant-garde cinema, Busby Berkeley numbers transformed masses of chorus girls into kaleidoscopic geometric patterns; blending dozens of bodies into one fleshy piece of moving art.  The evening features some of Berkeley's most iconic and insane work including three scenes from Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933): Ginger Rogers sings We're in the Money in pig latin whilst draped in monetary lingerie, Shadow Waltz with sixty neon violin toting showgirls, and the overtly political tearjerker My Forgotten Man. From Footlight Parade (1933), we bring you the risque Honeymoon Hotel number "with scores of bashful brides", Sitting on a Backyard Fence with dozens of dancers in kitty costumes, and the mesmerizing By a Waterfall sequence with reportedly 300 bathing beauties creating a human waterfall and then a series of morphing geometric shapes from a tank of water. Everywhere you look it's hundreds of Ruby Keelers, even coming out of her own eyeball in the hallucinatory I Only Have Eyes for You from Dames (1934). A smoking woman morphs into the Manhattan skyline and an army of tap dancers cause a frenzy that ends in one girl's death in The Lullaby of Broadway from Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935). Plus, two behind-the-scenes featurettes from the studios highlighting chorus girls and choreography: Three Cheers for the Girls (1943) and Calling All Girls (1942) which showcase snippets from Wonder Bar, The Singing Marine, Fashions of 1934, and Gold Diggers of 1937. Plus, Busby Berkeley-inspired Commercials, the trailer for Ken Russell's The Boyfriend (1971) and more!

Date: Thursday, April 14th, 2016 at 8:00pm
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street San Francisco
Admission: $10.00 Limited Seating RSVP to RSVP@oddballfilm.com or (415) 558-8117
Web: http://oddballfilms.blogspot.com 

Highlights Include:

Gold Diggers of 1933 (B+W, 1933, excerpts)
This follow-up to 42nd Street stars Dick Powell as a songwriter torn between the love of chorus girl Ruby Keeler and his wealthy family's inheritance. The casting is complemented by several dazzling stars and starlets of the Warner's roster - Joan Blondell, Warren William, Aline MacMahon, Ned Sparks and Ginger Rogers. Berkeley choreographed the musical production numbers including Ginger Rogers singing We're in the Money and the stunningly surreal Shadow Waltz featuring sixty violin playing chorus girls expressing first the repression then the fulfillment of sexual desire. 

“My Forgotten Man” From Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933, B+W)
The hundreds of marching soldiers, both in triumph and on the soup line are the center of this politically charged showstopper and perfectly illustrate the grievances of the Bonus Armies of the eraPart torch ballad, part protest song, My Forgotten Man is a heartbreaker but Busby Berkeley style! Warner Brothers mainstay Joan Blondell shares vocals with the brilliant Etta Moten on a stunning Harry Warren and Al Dubin anthem.

"By a Waterfall" from Footlight Parade (B+W, 1933)
A dazzling and jaw-dropping musical number featuring hundreds of lovely synchronized swimmers all choreographed by the legendary and hallucinatory Busby Berkeley.  Ruby Keeler serenades her love by a waterfall and as he nods off to sleep, the waters come alive with bathing beauties, who then form incredible visuals and patterns with only their bodies culminating in the incredible "Human Waterfall".  This extravagant number took over 6 days to film and the pool used for filming took up an entire sound stage and required 20,000 gallons of water to be pumped per minute.

Lullaby of Broadway (B+W, 1935)
The entire "Lullaby of Broadway" number from Gold Diggers of 1935 again starring Dick Powell. The silhouette of a smoking woman becomes the city of New York. A Broadway baby is dropped at home, to sleep till the evening. In a swanky 1930s nightspot, a dancing couple is joined by an army of tap dancers. In all the frenzy, a party-goer falls to her death.

Sittin’ On A Backyard Fence (B+W, 1933)
Clip from the great Busby Berkeley musical Footlight Parade- Watch as litters of human kitties sing, dance and frolic to the Tin Pan Alley favorite.

“I Only Have Eyes for You” from Dames (1934, B+W)
A fantasy world in a subway car! Ruby Keeler is the only girl in the world, but there are hundreds of her in this dreamy landscape, all thanks to Busby Berkeley. From those hundreds, one face emerges, and when Miss Keeler pops out of a giant eye there can be little doubt that notorious dance director Berkeley was something of a Hollywood branch of the Surrealist movement . . . all by himself. A spellbinding excerpt from Dames.

Calling All Girls (B+W, 1942, excerpt) 
This short film provides a look at the process of auditioning for musical numbers in 1930s Hollywood. In a combination of behind-the-scenes footage and breathtaking sequences from films such as "Don't Say Goodnight" from Wonder Bar (1934), this film expands upon the role of the once ubiquitous chorus girl. 

Three Cheers for the Girls (B+W, 1943)
A musical revue in which the stars are unnamed women of the chorus line. They begin in a dressing room with the song "We're the floradora chorus," and use this as a refrain in between the musical numbers (largely choreographed by Berkeley). Clips include "All's Fair in Love and War" from Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936), "The Words Are in My Heart" from Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935), "Spin a Little Web of Dreams" from Fashions of 1934 (1934), "Aloha Oe" from Flirtation Walk (1934), and "The Song of the Marines" from The Singing Marine (1937).

Curator’s Biography
Kat Shuchter is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Film Studies. She is a filmmaker, artist and esoteric film hoarder. She has helped program shows at the PFA, The Nuart and Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater and was crowned “Found Footage Queen” of Los Angeles, 2009. She has programmed over 200 shows at Oddball on everything from puberty primers to experimental animation.

About Oddball Films
Oddball Films is a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Silicon Valley, Kurt Cobain: The Montage of Heck, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our screenings are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.