6.5/10
2,847
58 user 30 critic

Ziegfeld Follies (1945)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical | 8 April 1946 (USA)
The late, great impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. looks down from Heaven and ordains a new revue in his grand old style.
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Fred Astaire ... Fred Astaire ('Here's to the Ladies') / Raffles ('This Heart of Mine') / Tai Long ('Limehouse Blues') / Gentleman ('The Babbit and the Bromide')
Lucille Ball ... Lucille Ball ('Here's to the Ladies')
Lucille Bremer ... Princess ('This Heart of Mine') / Moy Ling in 'Limehouse Blues')
Fanny Brice ... Norma Edelman ('A Sweepstakes Ticket')
Judy Garland ... The Star ('A Great Lady Has An Interview')
Kathryn Grayson ... Kathryn Grayson ('Beauty')
Lena Horne ... Lena Horne ('Love')
Gene Kelly ... Gentleman ('The Babbit and the Bromide')
James Melton ... Alfredo ('La Traviata')
Victor Moore ... Lawyer's Client ('Pay the Two Dollars')
Red Skelton ... J. Newton Numbskull ('When Television Comes')
Esther Williams ... Esther Williams ('A Water Ballet')
William Powell ... Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.
Edward Arnold ... Lawyer ('Pay the Two Dollars')
Marion Bell Marion Bell ... Violetta ('La Traviata')
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Storyline

In heaven, showman Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. fondly recalls his first Broadway revue, the Ziegfeld Follies of 1907. Even from heaven, he is hoping that he can, for one last time, create that same magic by mounting one last follies. As he thinks about who he would like to appear in these follies, he is assisted in realizing his fantasy, at least in his own mind, by such luminaries as Fred Astaire, Edward Arnold, 'Lucille Ball', Marion Bell, Lucille Bremer, Fanny Brice, Cyd Charisse, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, James Melton, Victor Moore, Virginia O'Brien, Red Skelton, Esther Williams, Keenan Wynn, and, of course, a bevy of beautiful girls. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Flashing...smashing SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT! DAZZLING IN ITS BEAUTY...PACKED WITH GLORIOUS Melodies! (original print media ad - many caps) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The horse ridden by Lucille Ball is the Lone Ranger's Silver. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of the "This Heart of Mine" number, as Astaire and Bremer begin to dance back to the palace, dancers in the background (screen left) are clearly struggling to stabilize some of the antler-tree props. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: Ah... Saturday, September twenty fifth. Another heavenly day. Ah, yes. Always a heavenly day.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Bunin's Puppets" are listed as cast members just above Cyd Charisse. See more »

Connections

Featured in MGM Parade: Episode #1.21 (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

Bring on the Wonderful Men
Music by Roger Edens
Lyrics by Earl K. Brent
Sung by Virginia O'Brien
See more »

User Reviews

 
Great music. Tragic attempt at comedy.
20 February 2012 | by audiemurphSee all my reviews

Let's give this movie credit for one thing: it doesn't claim to be anything other than what it is: an unconnected series of musical numbers and comedy sketches, meant to honor the late Florenz Ziegfeld. So, if that is what you want, terrific. If a particular scene bores you, you can fast-forward through it without missing anything.

The strength of the film was the wise decision to let Fred Astaire appear in more than one number. His dancing and on-screen personality are always delightful, because his joy in performing is obvious and catching. The highlight of the movie comes in the last performance, when he performs a wonderful tap-dance and singing number with Gene Kelly. They are so palpably having a good time that you almost forget how dreary so much of the rest of the film was!

The comedy sketches are absolutely the most miserable and un-funny things ever captured on celluloid. Painful, painful, painful. Good grief, do they drag on forever. Keenan Wynn performs an old Vaudeville sketch in which a man cannot get the operator to put his call through to a nearby number, while a parade of other characters have no problem putting calls through to the most obscure and distant locations on the planet. Potentially funny, yes? Well, yes, when Lou Costello did it two years earlier in "Who Done It" - that was the definitive version of the sketch. It is one of the funniest things Lou ever did. Why in the world would MGM have Wynn try to do the same sketch - he tries very hard to mimic Lou Costello's facial contortions and grunts and squeals of frustration - but it stinks.

And the "Pay him the two dollars" routine with Victor Booth and Edward Arnold - well, if this represents Vaudeville at its best, then I guess I don't regret not having been alive to see it after all. And Victor Hume takes a rare stab at comedy too; he appears to be trying to mimic Shemp Howard, and none too well at that.

The musical numbers in general are what you would expect from MGM - lavish, expensive-looking, and otherwise spectacular.

While it may not be everyone's cup of tea, I actually enjoyed the claymation at the beginning of the movie. One of the most bizarre and surreal scenes in any MGM movie ever has to be the 45 seconds of Eddie Cantor, in glorious claymation, and in blackface, for goodness sake, singing "If you knew Susie". It is hilarious, and the claymation really captures Cantor's performance style to a Tee - for comparison, I strongly suggest you watch "A Few Minutes with Eddie Cantor" (1923, in sound) on Youtube.

And speaking of classic Hollywood racial insensitivity, a long "drama in pantomime" features Fred Astaire and as a Chinese, stalking another white actress pretending to be Chinese. You really have to shake your head. And are Fred and Gene dancing in front of a statue of Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest? Perhaps not, but he sure looks Confederate....

Like I said, Ziegfeld Follies gives you get exactly what it claims to give you. But have the fast-forward ready.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 April 1946 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ziegfeld Follies of 1946 See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,240,816 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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