6.8/10
6,226
75 user 41 critic

The Great Ziegfeld (1936)

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

On Disc

at Amazon

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 »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The biopic of the famous French muckraking writer and his involvement in fighting the injustice of the Dreyfuss Affair.

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Paul Muni, Gale Sondergaard, Joseph Schildkraut
Cavalcade (1933)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

The triumphs and tragedies of two English families, the upper-crust Marryots and the working-class Bridges, from 1899 to 1933 are portrayed.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Diana Wynyard, Clive Brook, Una O'Connor
Cimarron (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A newspaper editor settles in an Oklahoma boom town with his reluctant wife at the end of the nineteenth century.

Director: Wesley Ruggles
Stars: Richard Dix, Irene Dunne, Estelle Taylor
Certificate: Passed Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A pair of sisters from the vaudeville circuit try to make it big time on Broadway, but matters of the heart complicate the attempt.

Director: Harry Beaumont
Stars: Bessie Love, Anita Page, Charles King
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone
Grand Hotel I (1932)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford
Going My Way (1944)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Father Charles O'Mailey, a young priest at a financially failing Church in a tough neighborhood, gains support and inspires his superior.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Bing Crosby, Barry Fitzgerald, Frank McHugh
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Teresa Wright
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Lionel Barrymore
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield
Wings (1927)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I.

Directors: William A. Wellman, Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast
Stars: Clara Bow, Charles 'Buddy' Rogers, Richard Arlen
Edit

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
Edit

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 Sensation of the Century! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran 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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Luise Rainer had never heard of Anna Held when she got the part. See more »

Goofs

The character of Audrey is listed in the credits as having the last name "Dane." However, when Ziegfeld speaks to the audience after her drunken performance, he refers to her as "Miss Lane". See more »

Quotes

Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: [Last lines] I've got to have more steps. I need more steps... I've got to get higher... higher.
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

Featured in The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

You Never Looked So Beautiful
(1936) (uncredited)
Music by Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Performed by male chorus and Virginia Bruce
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the Greatest Musicals Ever
1 July 2011 | by jayraskin1See all my reviews

Sometimes you see classic films and they disappoint. I had the opposite reaction here, it far exceeded my expectations.

I had seen "Ziegfield Follies" and I thought it was a great variety show, but nothing much more than what you could have seen on television in any week in 1963 when Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Ed Sullivan, Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye, Jackie Gleason and Judy Garland all had weekly variety shows.

I was expecting "The Great Ziegfeld" to be on the same level. It is not. The staged musical numbers are as spectacular as anything Busby Berkeley ever did and it is an absorbing biographical story with many excellent performances.

The movie has a great deal in common with "Wizard of Oz." Frank Morgan, who played the Wizard" plays Ziegfeld's rival and friend "Billings" with the same warmth he put into the Wizard character. Ray Bolger who played the "Scarecrow" does an incredible Scarecrowesque dance number. We have Myrna Loy doing a nice turn as "Billie Burke" who played "Glenda the Good Witch." It would have been nicer to have had the real Billie playing herself, but she apparently did a lot of behind the scenes work to insure that Ziegfeld (her late husband) was treated well in the bio. The art director Cedric Gibbons and costume designer Adrian Greenberg also did Wizard of Oz.

It is delightful seeing Fanny Brice in a small ten minute part. Virginia Bruce does a surprisingly good mean-girl gold-digger role. William Powell plays Ziegfeld with a charming light humorous touch.

However actor honors has to go to the amazing Louise Rainer, who won the Academy Award for her performance as Anna Held, Ziegfeld's French common-law wife. It is a performance that looks back to the expressionist performances of German cinema and looks forward to the naturalistic method acting performances of the 1950's. This performance is a link. Despite it only being a relatively small part of about 25 minutes, she did deserve the Academy Award for it. (Incidentally, Ms. Rainer turned 101 this year.)

Each of the dance numbers are fanciful and extravagant, capturing hopefully the actual stagings of Zeigfeld's shows. At least they seemed authentic to me. There is one number "Pretty Girl" that is done in one take and involves a revolving stage for about 10 minutes. Apparently, it cost $200,000 and took months to film. It is one of the great shots-dance numbers in cinematic history. It has an hypnotic effect.

To sum up, a witty, intelligent script, great art direction, great costumes, a dozen excellent dance numbers with one fantastic one and half a dozen fine performances and one amazing one.

The Great Ziegfeld is great and a must see for any real film buff. I would put it in the top ten of all time film musicals and right next to "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Golddiggers of 1933" and "SwingTime" as the best of the golden age of Hollywood.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 75 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed