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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In the musical number 'You' one of the hopping chorus members (second from the front) does not land both her feet squarely on the bed. The right foot falls short of it altogether and strikes the floor. Fortunately for her, the downstage dancer all but obscures the misstep. Nonetheless, to this hoofer's credit, she may have missed the bed, but like a trouper, she doesn't miss a beat. See more »
Oh, Jack, is Ziegfeld a friend of yours?
Yes, we've been pals for years, but you wouldn't like him.
No, he's up one day and down the next. If he got $10,000 tomorrow, he'd spend it on the girl he happened to like tomorrow night. You wouldn't want to waste your time meeting a felloe like that.
Oh, not if I met him on the right night.
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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 »
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 »
Entry of the Gladiators
Written by Julius Fucík
Played and sung at the beginning of the circus sequence See more »
Interesting & Generally Entertaining, Though Sometimes Overblown
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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