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The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Musical | 8 April 1936 (USA)
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1:44 | Trailer

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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)
Reviews
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:

10 Big Shows In 1 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:

The Great Ziegfeld See more »

Company Credits

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

The only film in which Luise Rainer won an acting Oscar for her performance in a film which won Best Picture. See more »

Goofs

Ziegfeld was never married to Anna Held. See more »

Quotes

Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: Oh, Sidney, I'm so terribly broke.
Sidney: But sir, isn't Mr. Billings going to help you?
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: Sidney, he hasn't a nickel. He was lying to me just to make me feel better. We're both broke.
Sidney: I wouldn't worry about that, sir. You've been broke before, sir.
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: Yes, I know. I've always laughed about it. But I can't laugh anymore, Sidney, because I've been wrong. I've got nothing. Nothing to leave anyone.
Sidney: Nothing, sir? You leave them the memories of the finest things ever done on the stage, sir. You'll leave them a ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits display the title of the film and the names of the stars in marquee lights, as they would be on Broadway. 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

References Show Boat (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

Rhapsody in Blue
(1924) (uncredited)
Music by George Gershwin
Excerpt included in 'Pretty Girl' number
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Incredibly well made and entertaining, not without its flaws but well worth the look
30 March 2015 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Knowing several people, on and outside of IMDb, who consider The Great Ziegfeld one of the weakest Best Picture winners, that didn't stop me from seeing it anyway. To me though, while it's not flawless and not the best film of the year it was still incredibly well-made and entertaining stuff and from personal view it is nowhere near one of the worst Best Picture winners.

The Great Ziegfeld agreed is overlong with a draggy and at times uneventful first half and half an hour could easily have been trimmed. And more could have done with the relationship between Ziegfeld and Billie Burke which appeared late in the film and didn't feel developed enough, almost like an afterthought.

However, The Great Ziegfeld is very lavishly mounted, with photography that's both beautiful and clever, sumptuous costume design and some of the most handsomely gorgeous sets of any 30s musical. Other pleasures are the marvellous and very well-staged(without being too overblown) songs with A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody being an absolute show-stopper, a script peppered with humour and heart and the mostly poignant story. Standout scenes were Fanny Brice's charming My Man, Ray Bolger's witty dancing to My Follies Girl, Luise Rainer's heart-breaking telephone(justifiably famous) and especially A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody with its clever photography and perhaps one of the best uses of a staircase in a film. The direction is adept and the performances are great, with William Powell suave personified and especially Luise Rainer who is the epitome of charm and grace, capable of a good range of emotions as seen in the telephone scene. Fanny Brice, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger are all memorable, while Myrna Loy is underused she's hardly wasted either.

Overall, a well-made, entertaining and very good film and well worth the look. 8/10 Bethany Cox


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