The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

Not Rated  |   |  Biography, Drama, Musical  |  8 April 1936 (USA)
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This biography follows the ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld, famed producer of extravagant stage revues.



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



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


10 Big Shows In 1 See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

8 April 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran Ziegfeld  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The set for "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" took months to build and cost over $200,000. This was substantially more than it cost the real Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. to produce a whole show, according to former Ziegfeld girl Doris Eaton. See more »


One of the newspapers announcing the upcoming bout between Sandow and the lion is dated April 20. The newspaper shown after the match, decrying it as a fraud, is dated April 17. See more »


Fanny Brice: Tell Mr Ziegfeld, I'm not in and if I was in, I wouldn't see him and if I did see him, tell him, I wouldn't buy a thing.
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 »


Featured in The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998) See more »


Won't You Come and Play with Me
(also called "I Wish You'd Come and Play with Me")
Written by Alfred Plumpton
Performed by Luise Rainer
See more »

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User Reviews

Jeez Luise
17 December 2002 | by See all my reviews

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.

24 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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