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Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 8 April 1946 (USA)
The late, great impresario Florenz Ziegfeld looks down from heaven and ordains a new revue in his grand old style.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Fred Astaire ('Here's to the Ladies') / Raffles ('This Heart of Mine') / Tai Long ('Limehouse Blues') / Gentleman ('The Babbit and the Bromide')
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Lucille Bremer ...
Princess ('This Heart of Mine') / Moy Ling in 'Limehouse Blues')
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Norma Edelman ('A Sweepstakes Ticket')
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The Star ('A Great Lady Has An Interview')
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Kathryn Grayson ('Beauty')
...
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Gentleman ('The Babbit and the Bromide')
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Alfredo ('La Traviata')
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Lawyer's Client ('Pay the Two Dollars')
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J. Newton Numbskull ('When Television Comes')
...
...
...
Lawyer ('Pay the Two Dollars')
Marion Bell ...
Violetta ('La Traviata')
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Storyline

In heaven, showman Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. fondly recalls his first Broadway revue, the Ziegfeld Follies of 1907. Even from heaven, he is hoping that he can, for one last time, create that same magic by mounting one last follies. As he thinks about who he would like to appear in these follies, he is assisted in realizing his fantasy, at least in his own mind, by such luminaries as Fred Astaire, Edward Arnold, 'Lucille Ball', Marion Bell, Lucille Bremer, Fanny Brice, Cyd Charisse, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, James Melton, Victor Moore, Virginia O'Brien, Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Keenan Wynn, and, of course, a bevy of beautiful girls. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Flashing...smashing SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT! DAZZLING IN ITS BEAUTY...PACKED WITH GLORIOUS Melodies! (original print media ad - many caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 April 1946 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ziegfeld Follies of 1944  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,240,816 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lucille Ball, who stars in this production based on Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.'s legendary shows, was actually fired by Ziegfeld from his production, Rio Rita, in the 1930s. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: Ah... Saturday, September twenty fifth. Another heavenly day. Ah, yes. Always a heavenly day.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Bunin's Puppets" are listed as cast members just above Cyd Charisse. See more »

Connections

Featured in American Cinema: Film Noir (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

This Heart of Mine
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Arthur Freed
Sung by Fred Astaire
Danced by Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer, chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Children play with the dreams of tomorrow. And old men play with the memories of yesterday"
22 July 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

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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