Gold Diggers of Broadway (partially found musical comedy film; 1929)

Gold Diggers of Broadway
Poster for the film.
Poster for the film.
Status Partially Found

Gold Diggers of Broadway is a 1929 American musical comedy film directed by Roy Del Ruth and starring Winnie Lightner and Nick Lucas. It was the second film ever to feature both colour and voices through its entire running time, the first being On with the Show!, also released by Warner Bros.[1]


Despite its popularity and box office success, most of the film has been lost. The movie was filmed on Vitaphone sound-on-disc reels and was spread across ten different reels of 35mm nitrate film. Over time, these reels were lost, possibly due to Warner Bros. having destroyed many of its negatives in the late 1940s and 1950s due to nitrate film pre-1933 decomposition, which could be another reason why Warner Bros/First National had the most significant losses of its Early Sound Era as well as its Silent Era.


Since the 1980s, various footage from reels nine and ten have been found. Also, the entire soundtrack has survived, and the full version is available online.

Additionally, a Youtuber named "MissVitaphone" had uploaded 15 minutes of surviving footage for the final two reels, which included scenes such as Lightner's character, Mabel, doing a rehearsal in the dressing room as well as a camera recording of four Czech Excerpts reels of "The Rogue Song", but due to the account's termination, these videos are no longer available.


A dance number scene from Reel 9.
Surviving footage of reel 10.
More surviving footage that was found in 2005.
18 minutes of the soundtrack and dialogue.
Eight seconds of footage were used in a Gold Diggers of 1937 trailer (~0:19).
Lower quality rip of reel 10 with additional footage up to 1:37.


  1. Wikipedia article. Retrieved 19 Mar '16.



Anonymous user #1

10 months ago
Score 2++
I'm currently watching the last reel on Youtube. Of all lost films, I find this one to be among the most interesting for several reasons. One is that it was the most successful movie of all time until The Wizard of Oz surpassed it. How could a hit film be lost? Maybe because it was so popular, the distribution prints wore out from excessive screenings and the negatives, of course, were probably destroyed by the studio. The other reason is the two-color Technicolor. Most people don't know about the two-color Technicolor process, but dozens of movies in the 20s and early 30s were produced with the process, including this film. Only a handful of old two-color films still exist today, most either in black and white or completely lost.
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