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The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,968 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 34 critic

This biography follows the ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld, famed producer of extravagant stage revues.

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Title: The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Jack Billings
...
Fannie Brice (as Fannie Brice)
...
Audrey Dane
...
Sampston
...
Ray Bolger
Ernest Cossart ...
Sidney
Joseph Cawthorn ...
Dr. Ziegfeld (as Joseph Cawthorne)
...
Sandow
Harriet Hoctor ...
Herself
Jean Chatburn ...
Mary Lou
Paul Irving ...
Erlanger
Herman Bing ...
Costumer
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Storyline

At the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, sideshow barker Flo Ziegfeld turns the tables on his more successful neighbor Billings, and steals his girlfriend to boot. This pattern is repeated throughout their lives, as Ziegfeld makes and loses many fortunes putting on ever bigger, more spectacular shows (sections of which appear in the film). French revue star Anna Held becomes his first wife, but it's not easy being married to the man who "glorified the American girl." Late in life, now married to Billie Burke, he seems to be all washed up, but... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Sensation of the Century! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 April 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran Ziegfeld  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Luise Rainer had never heard of Anna Held when she got the part. See more »

Goofs

During the circus number, each dog moves forward into a box painted on the floor of the stage. The second dog from the right moves forward out of the box, then is seen back in the box in the next shot. See more »

Quotes

Billie Burke: I wonder what General Grant would think if he knew we were using the very shadow of his tomb as our meeting place?
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: Well, I never knew the general personally but I have an idea that he'd approve.
See more »

Crazy Credits

An actor portraying composer Jerome Kern is seen in an office playing "Look for the Silver Lining" on the piano, but he is not mentioned on any cast list for this film. He is simply called "Jerry" by the other characters in the scene. See more »


Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op.314
(1867) (uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauß
Played during the "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting & Generally Entertaining, Though Sometimes Overblown
15 January 2003 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Like its subject, this movie is interesting and generally entertaining, but often overblown. It's well worth seeing, although it could also have been whittled down by a good portion of its running time without losing anything important. It does present a believable and entertaining look at Ziegfeld's shows and personality, along with some good scenes and some good performances that keep it going.

William Powell was a pretty good choice to play Ziegfeld, since he has the knack of making a character eccentric and distinctive without having it come across as too forced or unnatural. And Myrna Loy is always a charming co-star, for Powell or anyone else. Yet it is Luise Rainer who delivers by far the most memorable performance - she makes her character temperamental but endearing, unpredictable but completely sympathetic. The best parts of the movie come when she is a big part of the action, and when her character slips into the background in the second half, the movie loses something. The rest of the large cast does get some good moments, and it's fun to see a couple of performers playing themselves, although some of them don't get nearly enough to do. The many production numbers contain some very good ones, but there are others that aren't worth the amount of time they were given, and that could have been cut down considerably without losing anything.

You can see why this impressed a lot of viewers in its time, and it's still pretty good entertainment. It could have been better, though, with a little more restraint. But then, its excesses are rather in keeping with its subject, and at any rate they don't keep it from being worth seeing.


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