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 <email@example.com>
William Powell was loaned by MGM to Universal for the film, but Universal sold the film to MGM when costs mounted. Powell made My Man Godfrey (1936) for Universal instead. See more »
In the early part of the "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" number, there are girls pretending to play a Japanese Shamisen with mirrored fronts. Just before the middle one goes out of frame, you can see a sign being held by a crewman, likely to give instructions as the shot progressed. See more »
Boy, is this movie long......but worth it for the most part. William Powell is, as usual, his urbane, sophisticated self in a romanticized portrayal of Florenz Ziegfeld. Myrna Loy,leaving behind her wisecracking Nora Charles persona, does a fair job as Billie Burke. Burke, whose movie career was based on dithering, silly women, was once a beauty who graced the Follies. Loy doesn't come across as either but she has never given a bad performance so she is believable. But Louise Rainer as Anna Held is the one to watch here. A beautiful doll-like creature, she enchants you with her performance. The famous telephone scene may be overrated somewhat but it worked for me....and obviously for the Academy...it garnered her an Oscar. The music is so wonderful and the "Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" with Dennis Morgan is eye candy. One glaring fault is that there is a very short sequence with the great Fanny Brice in which she is singing "My Man" ( probably one of the greatest torch songs of all times) and it is just cut-off in mid warble as the story goes on to another scene. An unforgivable sin!! There could have been a little less talk and a little more singing/dancing in the movie but since it is a biography and not primarily a musical, all, except for the Brice faux pas, is forgiven!
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