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The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

6.9
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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 Last Word In Entertainment! 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

William Powell was loaned by MGM to Universal for the film, but Universal sold the film to MGM when costs mounted. Powell made My Man Godfrey (1936) for Universal instead. See more »

Goofs

In the musical number 'You' one of the hopping chorus members (second from the front) does not land both her feet squarely on the bed. The right foot falls short of it altogether and strikes the floor. Fortunately for her, the downstage dancer all but obscures the misstep. Nonetheless, to this hoofer's credit, she may have missed the bed, but like a trouper, she doesn't miss a beat. 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 »

Connections

Featured in Ziegfeld on Film (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Missouri Waltz
(1914) (uncredited)
Music John Valentine Eppel
Played during the 'Paul Jones' dance
See more »

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User Reviews

Amazing Film
23 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

William Powell stars as Florenz Ziegfeld in his "biography" of the great Broadway producer. This is a lush and long film filled with great scenes and a few that are too long. Clocking in at about 3 hours, THE GREAT ZIEGFELD is one of MGM's biggest attempts at creating a blockbuster musical, and it won the Oscar for best film.

Powell is, as always, terrific. Oddly he did not receive an Oscar nomination for this film but did get one the same year for MY MAN GODFREY. Luise Rainer won the best actress Oscar for her performance as Anna Held. Myrna Loy plays Billie Burke. The great Fanny Brice appears as herself and just about steals the show until they stupidly and abruptly cut away from her as she starts singing "My Man." She doesn't show up again.

Ray Bolger gets a whole number to himself. And Dennis Morgan fronts the mammoth "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" number (although it's the voice of Allan Jones), which ranks among the great production numbers of the era. The camera slowly pans up a seemingly endless spiral staircase filled with pretty girls as draperies are raised to expose more and more staircase. Then we finally reach the top with Virginia Bruce posed there. It's a giddy and spectacular sequence.

The ballet sequence featuring Harriet Hoctor is rather a bore. I'd rather have seen more of Fanny Brice. Brice is hilarious in the dressing-room with a big blonde. Who was she? Is it Gertrude Astor? Powell and Rainer are really excellent in this film. Notable co-stars include Frank Morgan, Joseph Cawthorn, Herman Bing, Marcelle Corday, Nat Pendleton, and Reginald Owen.

And while Brice appears as herself the Will Rogers and Eddie Cantor appearances are fakes.

An excellent film in the old style and worth the 3 hours it takes to watch it. Ziegfeld was a great showman and deserved this fabulous tribute. He died in 1932, having given the world a number of major stars and great shows.


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