A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot. Amongst events touching their family are the Boer War,... See full summary »
Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, but his level gaze and twinkling eyes make it clear that he knows ... See full summary »
Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard the HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti. Bligh proves to be a brutal tyrant and, after six pleasant months on Tahiti, ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
For her famous telephone conversation scene, which is generally credited as being what clinched the Oscar for her, Luise Rainer drew a lot of her material from a play by Jean Cocteau entitled "The Human Voice". See more »
In the early part of the "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" number, there are girls pretending to play a Japanese Shamisen with mirrored fronts. Just before the middle one goes out of frame, you can see a sign being held by a crewman, likely to give instructions as the shot progressed. See more »
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.:
[after catching Ray Bolger doing a little softshoe backstage]
Buddy, you're better with your feet than you are with your broom.
Mr. Ziegfeld, you think so? Gee, I wish you'd give me a chance. I've got talent, and I'd like to get away from shifting scenery and moving props.
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.:
How long have you been a property boy?
Five years, but my heart hasn't been in it.
You've been working a long time without your heart, buddy.
See more »
The opening credits display the title of the film and the names of the stars in marquee lights, as they would be on Broadway. See more »
When You Wore a Tulip (and I Wore a Big Red Rose)
Composed by Percy Wenrich
Lyrics by Jack Mahoney
[Played while Bille Burke (Myrna Loy) and Billings (Frank Morgan) descend the stairs at the Astor Club] See more »
Before anybody goes on for one minute more about how brilliant Luise Rainer is as Anna Held, let's remember that she took the Oscar from Garbo's Camille. I mean, come on. Rainer is pretty and her instincts are right, and her famous "telephone scene" expertly employs the old smiling-through-tears device. But it's hardly as challenging a role as Marguerite, and Rainer's undeniable Continental charm can go only so far.
The movie itself is a corker. William Anthony McGuire's screenplay is far above average for this musical-biography genre; it's full of smart wisecracks, and while it heavily fictionalizes Ziegfeld's life and persona (it makes him much more suave and irresistible than he was), it gets the big things right: his invention of the big musical revue, his obsession with glorifying the American girl, his unparalleled showmanship and eye for talent.
Speaking of talent, you get a full, uninterrupted, great Ray Bolger number, several clever and lavish production numbers, and a snippet of Fanny Brice (but cutting away from her "My Man" is unforgivable). The actors playing Eddie Cantor and Will Rogers are amusingly terrible. And Virginia Bruce is memorably nasty as a temperamental showgirl.
The Academy named this Best Picture of 1936. And you know, it probably was.
25 of 37 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?