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The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Musical | 8 April 1936 (USA)
The ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., famed producer of extravagant stage revues, are portrayed.

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(screenplay)
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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
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Ray Bolger
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Sidney
...
Dr. Ziegfeld (as Joseph Cawthorne)
...
Harriet Hoctor ...
Herself
...
Mary Lou
Paul Irving ...
Erlanger
...
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:

10 Big Shows In 1 See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 April 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran Ziegfeld  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Universal Pictures bought the film rights to Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.'s life story from his widow Billie Burke in late 1933. William Powell was to play Ziegfeld, Burke was to play herself and it would feature specialties by Fanny Brice, Judy Garland (and her sisters), Eddie Cantor and Ray Bolger. When Universal decided to make a faithful film version of the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical "Show Boat", which Ziegfeld himself had originally produced onstage, Universal sold "The Great Ziegfeld" to MGM in March 1935 while still in pre-production. Only Powell, Brice and Bolger survived to the final picture. Ironically, MGM would buy the rights to "Show Boat" from Universal in 1942, and remake the musical, in Technicolor, in 1951 (Show Boat (1951)). See more »

Goofs

At the Chicago World's Fair, as the Great Sandow (Nat Pendleton) lowers the barbell with the ladies inside, it lowers at a controlled rate, rather than as if a man was actually handling it. See more »

Quotes

Fanny Brice: If I can give Belasco four dollars for silk stockings made of cotton, I can give Ziegfeld a little more for a mink coat made of skunk.
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 MGM Parade: Episode #1.7 (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

If You Knew Susie
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Joseph Meyer
Lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva
Performed by Buddy Doyle, imitating Eddie Cantor
See more »

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User Reviews

 
MGM Lifts Its Weight in Oscar Voting
3 March 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

First impressions find William Powell (as Florenz "Ziggy" Ziegfeld Jr.) acting a little inebriated and a somewhat uncertain about his characterization; his "My Man Godfrey" (also 1936) performance is superior. Early on, co-star Frank Morgan (as Jack Billings) and Mr. Powell are reciting lines in the dark. They are more comfortable as the hours pass. The second half-hour introduces French-accented showgirl Luise Rainer (as Anna Held), who won an "Academy Award" as "Best Actress" for her supporting role...

Ms. Rainer occasionally adds some spark to the story, but her award for giving the best female performance of the year 1936 is arguable to the extreme. After an hour, dancer Ray Bolger takes the spotlight. Then, just before the intermission, watch for the extravagant "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody" production number; this is the film's highlight. After the hour and a half point, find Mr. Bolger's dance solo. Just around the two-hour mark, Fanny Brice appears, to sing a partial "My Man". Myrna Loy (as Billie Burke) finally arrives, also. Rainer's tearful telephone scene follows. MGM corralled their then majority vote at "Oscar" time.

***** The Great Ziegfeld (3/22/36) Robert Z. Leonard ~ William Powell, Luise Rainer, Myrna Loy, Ray Bolger


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