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 »
Hat check man Louis Blore is in love with nightclub star May Daly. May, however, is love with a poor dancer, but wants to marry for money. When Louis wins the Irish Sweepstakes, he asks May... See full summary »
Johnny Brett and King Shaw are an unsuccessful dance team in New York. A producer discovers Brett as the new partner for Clare Bennett, but Brett, who thinks he is one of the people they lent money to gives him the name of his partner.
The Wolves baseball team gets steamed when they find they've been inherited by one K.C. Higgins, a suspected "fathead" who intends to take an active interest in running the team. But K.C. ... See full summary »
Leo Gogarty marries Margaud Morgan after a whirlwind romance just before shipping out to war. When he returns he is surprised to discover not only that his bride is not what she led him to ... See full summary »
Gregory La Cava
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 »
Johnny Riggs, a con man on the lam, finds himself in a Latin-American country named Patria. There, he overhears a convent-bred rich girl praying to her guardian angel for help in managing ... See full summary »
Decca Records released a Judy Garland 78 containing two songs from the score not performed by her in the movie: "Love" (music and lyrics by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane), a fervent air which Judy sang on radio the twice in 1945, then occasionally in her 1951-52 concerts as an encore, and two times on her CBS-TV series, The Judy Garland Show (1963): a duet with Lena Horne from the October 13, 1963 broadcast, and a solo version telecast on March 22, 1964. The Decca flip side was the radiant ballad, "This Heart of Mine" (music by Harry Warren and Arthur Freed). Judy's two commercial cuts, arranged and conducted by Victor Young, recorded on January 26, 1945 and released on March 22, along with an alternate take of "This Heart of Mine," have been presented on her CD box set from MCA, "The Complete Decca Masters (Plus)." See more »
Towards the end of the "This Heart of Mine" number, as Astaire and Bremer begin to dance back to the palace, dancers in the background (screen left) are clearly struggling to stabilize some of the antler-tree props. See more »
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.:
Ah... Saturday, September twenty fifth. Another heavenly day. Ah, yes. Always a heavenly day.
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Ziegfeld Follies, seeing it again takes me back to the first time I did see it. At the old Ziegfeld Theater now converted to a movie house where for $2.00 I could spend the day with Ziegfeld. A triple feature ran that day. The Great Ziegfeld, Ziegfeld Girl, and Ziegfeld Follies ran back to back. Things started around 10:30 am. and I didn't leave the theater until 7:30 pm.
This film was MGM's attempt to create the Ziegfeld Follies and what it was like to see it on stage. At a time when every studio was creating all star musical films as morale boosters for the war, Ziegfeld Follies is the only one of the whole bunch that has absolutely no mention of the war. In fact it's a one and only throwback to the all star musical films that sprouted out at the beginning of the sound era. It more properly belongs with films like Paramount on Parade, Fox's Movietone Follies, and The King of Jazz.
MGM had more musical talent at its studio than any other and in Ziegfeld Follies they used it all and then some. The introduction is provided by William Powell reprising his role as Florenz Ziegfeld. He's in his heavenly digs now, reminiscing about the great times on earth and the great shows he put on. If he were doing a show today, he'd first begin it with a great star like Fred Astaire. Then Fred takes over and the show begins.
Arthur Freed who also contributed some lyrics here as well, produced Ziegfeld Follies and under his banner various directors and writers and performers all got to do their thing. Two performers Fanny Brice and Victor Moore got to do some of the comedy they did back on the stage and for Ziegfeld. It's a pity Eddie Cantor who was still alive and very much active couldn't be brought in. He's only seen at the beginning in an animated version. W.C. Fields who also starred in the Follies as well on stage probably was in bad health, bad temper or both.
I'm sure that Ziegfeld would have loved the talent assembled here. It ranges from the Metropolitan Opera's James Melton to vaudeville's Red Skelton. In fact my favorite comedy number from the film is Red Skelton doing the Guzzler's Gin Program and lamenting the fact that next time he gets oatmeal for a sponsor.
My favorite musical number is Lena Horne singing the song Love in a Caribbean setting. One of Ziegfeld's famous headliners was the famous black comedian Bert Williams. To not have a black performer in this cast would have been an insult to Ziegfeld's memory as well as a whole race of people. Lena Horne's act isn't exactly the same as Bert Williams's, but her singing of Love is the musical highlight of the film.
Until That's Entertainment II, Ziegfeld Follies was the only film in which Fred Astaire got to dance with Gene Kelly. Although Astaire has a few numbers here, this is Kelly's only appearance. They do George and Ira Gershwin's The Babbitt and the Bromide which Astaire did with his sister Adele back in the Twenties. It's not the best work for either of them, still it's a twice in a lifetime treat.
Films like Ziegfeld Follies can never be done again because the studios that had all that talent under contract are gone. But Arthur Freed shot almost double the amount of numbers and many things were cut. I think it would be great if we could get the footage restored if MGM bothered to save it.
A director's cut Ziegfeld Follies. To really fill your day with the magic of a Ziegfeld show.
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