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 »
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 »
Ellen Hallit is in love with her playboy boss, Douglas Morrison, but is too timid to do anything about it. To help her, her roommate Chris decides to step in, and devises a plan. Chris ... 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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Don't bother (and don't judge) unless you can see a good Technicolor print
No doubt the jaded postmodern cynical viewer will find plenty to pick apart in this fluff (facile metaphysics, etc.). That is their loss.
This is not one of the great MGM musicals, but at its best it does what great musicals do: it sweeps you along in a kaleidoscope of color, movement and sound. And because of these qualities this trifle IS art as surely as Citizen Kane or La Promesse are. Cinema is not just an art of--or forum for-- philosophy; it is an art of the color palette, and with The Ziegfeld Follies the technical forces of a great studio created a sometimes exquisite canvas to behold. Unfortunately, like many old films, the canvas is fading.
I first saw this film 20 years ago projected from an exceptional 16 millimeter print that brought out the full richness of the Technicolor cinematography. None of the video versions I've seen since have come close. The same is true for the 1949 John Ford western, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, which I saw many years ago in an unbelievably painterly 16mm Technicolor print. Prints of that film shown on the AMC network don't even come close to the richness of that print.
Its color alone is enough to make The Ziegfeld Follies visually entertaining for me, and that print I saw long ago convinces me that is one of the 10 or 20 most beautiful color films ever made. The merry go round scene (with Lucille Ball as I recall) in hot garish pink was particularly striking visually.
I contend that any film, even marginal or bad ones, made in the extinct and impossible to resurrect Technicolor process is worthy of seeing, because its very usage constitutes a lost art form in and of itself.
Like Ziegfeld Follies, middling films such as Kid Millions (1934), Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936), Jesse James (1939), Down Argentine Way (1940), The Gang's All Here (1943) and The Captain from Castile (1947) are worth seeing almost exclusively because of their amazing color schemes.
The biggest crack about "Tech," as cine buffs call it, is that it was not "realistic" color. Bogus line of reasoning, as no cinematic color process can ever be realistic in the sense of replicating human sight. OK maybe Roger Deakins came close in "Sid and Nancy." Admiring Ziegfeld Follies solely for its color may not be enough for you, but it's enough for me in our era of dreary cinematic color.
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