Tommy Williams desperately wants to get to Broadway, but as he is only singing in a spaghetti house for tips he is a long way off. He meets Penny Morris, herself no mean singer, and through... See full summary »
Light bio-pic of American Broadway pioneer Jerome Kern, featuring renditions of the famous songs from his musical plays by contemporary stage artists, including a condensed production of ... See full summary »
Acrobat Eddie Marsh is in the army now. His first act is to become friendly with Kathryn Jones, the colonel's pretty daughter. Their romance hits a few snags, including disapproval from her... See full summary »
Rich kid Danny Churchill (Rooney) has a taste for wine, women and song, but not for higher education. So his father ships him to an all-male college out West where there's not supposed to ... See full summary »
Talented small-town girl Lily Mars hounds producer John Thornway for a part in his new play, but he doesn't want anything to do with stage-struck amateurs. But when Lily follows him to New ... See full summary »
Discovery by Flo Ziegfeld changes a girl's life but not necessarily for the better, as three beautiful women find out when they join the spectacle on Broadway: Susan, the singer who must ... See full summary »
During the "A Great Lady Has An Interview," Judy Garland is continuously pushing her hair back out of her face during the interview portion of the scene. However, when the musical part begins her hair is firmly fixed up off of her face and stays that way until the end of the number when her dance moves have obviously loosened it up enough to start falling in her face again. See more »
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.:
Ah... Saturday, September twenty fifth. Another heavenly day. Ah, yes. Always a heavenly day.
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"Children play with the dreams of tomorrow. And old men play with the memories of yesterday"
How does one describe 'Ziegfeld Follies (1946)?' Well, I suppose the simplest description is that it's almost a live-action musical version of 'Fantasia (1940).' The film consists of a number of individual, self- contained musical numbers and comedy sketches, a tribute to the extravagant stage shows of Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., which were inspired by the Folies Bergères of Paris and ran between 1907 and 1931. William Powell, recreating his title role from the biopic 'The Great Ziegfeld (1936),' plays the master showman who, from his heavenly suite in the hereafter, decides to stage one final Follies using the stars of today. Certainly, by the 1940s, M-G-M had assembled such an astonishing selection of musical talent that their motto became "More Stars Than There Are in the Heavens" the real-life Ziegfeld would have been licking his lips with anticipation! Fred Astaire naturally headlines the film, but he enjoys the support of an overwhelming (and eclectic) assortment of talented dancers, singers, comedians, directors, musicians and choreographers, the likes of which had never been seen before or since.
William Powell opens the film, as Ziegfeld, with his brief reminiscences on a lifetime in entertainment, utilising a rather bizarre style of stop-motion animation. However, once the music gets started and, true to form, the Follies commence with a tribute to the American girl we are treated to some of the most vivid and spectacular musical numbers ever devised. The world of Ziegfeld is often unaccountably weird: Lucille Ball cracking whips at dancers in feline costumes; Fred Astaire donning Oriental make-up; Lena Horne singing a fiery tribute to the fatal powers of love and lust. Judy Garland chimes in with a dead-on Katharine Hepburn impression, before performing a song that sounds suspiciously like cinema's first rap rendition. It all has the flavour of a dream, suggestive of something both fantastic and eternal. Even the out-of-place comedy sketches (Keenan Wynn eating a telephone, Victor Moore arrested for "expectorating" on public transport, Red Skelton as a drunken television host) take place in hyper-stylised surroundings, adding an element of abstract absurdism.
Astaire's three major performances are the highlights: "This Heart of Mine" and "Limehouse Blues" teamed him with the graceful Lucille Bremer. In the former, Astaire plays a sophisticated jewelery thief who charms, and subsequently falls in love with, a beautiful lady, the pair dancing and swirling elegantly on rotating floors and hidden conveyor belts. In the latter, Astaire improbably plays a proud Chinese labourer whose impossible yearning for Bremer finds life only in an atmospheric dream ballet, serving a similar purpose to the ballet in Gene Kelly's 'An American in Paris (1951).' Astaire's final, and most memorable, appearance sees him paired with Gene Kelly in "The Babbit and the Bromide," the first of only two occasions on which stars danced together, the other in 'That's Entertainment! Part II (1976).' And so, with Kathryn Grayson singing and floating gracefully through mountains of bubble bath, 'Ziegfeld Follies' draws to a close the awakening from a long, colourful and timeless daydream, a stage performance beamed down from above.
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