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The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

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The ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., famed producer of extravagant stage revues, are portrayed.

Director:

Robert Z. Leonard

Writer:

William Anthony McGuire (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:
William Powell ... Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.
Myrna Loy ... Billie Burke
Luise Rainer ... Anna Held
Frank Morgan ... Jack Billings
Fanny Brice ... Fannie Brice (as Fannie Brice)
Virginia Bruce ... Audrey Dane
Reginald Owen ... Sampston
Ray Bolger ... Ray Bolger
Ernest Cossart ... Sidney
Joseph Cawthorn ... Dr. Ziegfeld (as Joseph Cawthorne)
Nat Pendleton ... Sandow
Harriet Hoctor ... Herself
Jean Chatburn ... Mary Lou
Paul Irving Paul Irving ... Erlanger
Herman Bing ... 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:

The Last Word In Entertainment! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran Ziegfeld See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billie Burke, the wife of the real Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., paid a visit to the film's set one day. While there, she was photographed with Myrna Loy, who was portraying Ms. Burke in the film. See more »

Goofs

The "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" number incorporates snippets of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", which was premiered circa 1924, but after its performance Anna Held, who died in 1918, is still portrayed as alive and married to Ziegfeld. See more »

Quotes

Fanny Brice: Tell Mr Ziegfeld, I'm not in and if I was in, I wouldn't see him and if I did see him, tell him, I wouldn't buy a thing.
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 »

Alternate Versions

The DVD release runs 185 minutes, and includes the overture, entr'acte and exit music, as presented in the original "road show" version of the film. See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM: When the Lion Roars: The Lion Reigns Supreme (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Vesti la giubba
(uncredited)
From "Pagliacci" (1892)
Written by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Sung in part by unidentified man in 'Pretty Girl' number
See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting & Generally Entertaining, Though Sometimes Overblown
15 January 2003 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

Like its subject, this movie is interesting and generally entertaining, but often overblown. It's well worth seeing, although it could also have been whittled down by a good portion of its running time without losing anything important. It does present a believable and entertaining look at Ziegfeld's shows and personality, along with some good scenes and some good performances that keep it going.

William Powell was a pretty good choice to play Ziegfeld, since he has the knack of making a character eccentric and distinctive without having it come across as too forced or unnatural. And Myrna Loy is always a charming co-star, for Powell or anyone else. Yet it is Luise Rainer who delivers by far the most memorable performance - she makes her character temperamental but endearing, unpredictable but completely sympathetic. The best parts of the movie come when she is a big part of the action, and when her character slips into the background in the second half, the movie loses something. The rest of the large cast does get some good moments, and it's fun to see a couple of performers playing themselves, although some of them don't get nearly enough to do. The many production numbers contain some very good ones, but there are others that aren't worth the amount of time they were given, and that could have been cut down considerably without losing anything.

You can see why this impressed a lot of viewers in its time, and it's still pretty good entertainment. It could have been better, though, with a little more restraint. But then, its excesses are rather in keeping with its subject, and at any rate they don't keep it from being worth seeing.


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