Ziegfeld Follies

Ziegfeld Follies

4.5 2
Director: Lemuel Ayers, Robert Lewis, Vincente Minnelli, Roy Del Ruth

Cast: Lemuel Ayers, Robert Lewis, Vincente Minnelli, Roy Del Ruth


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The presence of William Powell as legendary showman Flo Ziegfeld at the beginning of Ziegfeld Follies might lead an impressionable viewer from thinking that this 1946 film is a Technicolor sequel to the 1936 Oscar-winning The Great Ziegfeld. Not so: this is more in the line of an…  See more details below


The presence of William Powell as legendary showman Flo Ziegfeld at the beginning of Ziegfeld Follies might lead an impressionable viewer from thinking that this 1946 film is a Technicolor sequel to the 1936 Oscar-winning The Great Ziegfeld. Not so: this is more in the line of an all-star revue, much like such early talkies as Hollywood Revue of 1929 and Paramount on Parade. We meet a grayed, immaculately garbed Ziegfeld in Paradise (his daily diary entry reads "Another heavenly day"), where he looks down upon the world and muses over the sort of show he'd be putting on were he still alive. Evidently Ziegfeld's shade has something of a celestial conduit to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, since his "dream" show is populated almost exclusively by MGM stars. Vincente Minnelli is given sole directorial credit at the beginning of the film, though many of the individual "acts" were helmed by other hands. The Bunin puppets offer a tableau depicting anxious theatregoers piling into a Broadway theatre, as well as caricatures of Ziegfeld's greatest stars. The opening number, "Meet the Ladies," spotlights a whip-wielding (!) Lucille Ball, a bevy of chorus girls dressed as panthers, and, briefly, Margaret O'Brien. Kathryn Grayson and "The Ziegfeld Girls" perform "There's Beauty Everywhere." Victor Moore and Edward Arnold show up in an impressionistically staged adaptation of the comedy chestnut "Pay the Two Dollars." Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer (a teaming which evidently held high hopes for MGM) dance to the tune of "This Heart is Mine." "Number Please" features Keenan Wynn in an appallingly unfunny rendition of an old comedy sketch (performed far better as "Alexander 2222" in Abbott and Costello's Who Done It?) Lena Horne, strategically placed in the film at a juncture that could be edited out in certain racist communities, sings "Love." Red Skelton stars in the film's comedy highlight, "When Television Comes"-which is actually Skelton's classic "Guzzler's Gin" routine (this sequence was filmed late in 1944, just before Red's entry into the armed services). Astaire and Bremer return for a lively rendition of "Limehouse Blues." Judy Garland, lampooning every Hollywood glamour queen known to man, stops the show with "The Interview." Even better is the the historical one-time-only teaming of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly in "The Babbitt and the Bromide." The excellence of these sequence compensate for the mediocrity of "The Sweepstakes Ticket," wherein Fanny Brice screams her way through a dull comedy sketch with Hume Cronyn (originally removed from the US prints of Ziegfeld Follies, this sequence was restored for television). The film ends with a water ballet by Esther Williams. Excised from the final release print (pared down to 110 minutes, from a monumental 273 minutes!) was Judy Garland's rendition of "Liza," a duet featuring Garland and Mickey Rooney, and a "Baby Snooks" sketch featuring Fanny Brice, Hanley Stafford and B. S. Pully. A troubled and attenuated production, Ziegfeld Follies proved worth the effort when the film rang up a $2 million profit.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Revues are a tricky thing o pull off on film (which is why most producers try to hedge their bets but tacking a plot onto a filmed revue, thereby making it satisfying neither as revue nor as a scripted show), but Ziegfeld Follies manages it beautifully. That's not to say it is by any means perfect, for there are definitely some "lows" mixed in with the "highs." But that's the nature of the revue format. It's also true that what one person considers a "low" may very likely be a "high" for another, and vice versa. But it's pretty safe to say that among Ziegfeld's definite highs are the sensational "Limehouse Blues," in which Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer dance a tragic little tale amid some of the most sensational purples, blues and greens the screen has ever seen; "The Great Lady Give san Interview," in which Judy Garland is given the opportunity to demonstrate her flair for satirical comedy; Red Skelton's comedic gin routine (in some ways a forerunner of Lucille Ball's legendary "Viteameatavegemin" routine); and Lena Horne, shockingly beautiful, singing a sizzling "Love." If "The Babbitt and the Bromide" is not one of the highs, it's because too much is expected of it as the only (real) onscreen pairing of Astaire and Gene Kelly; it's quite entertaining, but one wants more fireworks from this once-in-a-lifetime event. Low points include an anemic comedy skit with Keenan Wynn and an excerpt from "Traviata" that is very well sung but feels out of place. And occupying a position all its own is the "Meet the Ladies" number -- that position secured by the surreal and curious image of a stunning Ball snapping a whip at cat-clad ladies of the chorus. Ziegfeld is lavisha nd filled with eye candy of all sorts; if it's closer in spirit to a tribute to MGM than to the legendary showman, it's still darn good entertainment.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Region Code:
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; New featurette Ziegfeld Follies, An embrassment of Riches vintage Crime Does not Pay short The Luckiest Guy in the

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Fred Astaire Fred Astaire/Raffles/Tai Long
Lucille Ball The Princess
Lucille Bremer Princess/Moy Ling
Fanny Brice Norma
Judy Garland Herself
Gene Kelly Gene Kelly
Kathryn Grayson Guest
William Powell The Great Ziegfeld
Lena Horne Singer
James Melton Actor
Victor Moore Himself
Red Skelton Announcer/J. Newton Numbskull
Esther Williams Guest
Edward Arnold Lawyer
Bunin's Puppets Actor
Cyd Charisse Ballet Dancer
Hume Cronyn Monty
William Frawley Mr. Martin
Robert Lewis Chinese Gentleman/Telephone Voice
Virginia O'Brien Singer
Robert Ames Actor
Marion Bell Soprano
Helen Boice The Countess
Karin [Katharine] Booth Actor
Elise Cavanna Actor
Feodor Chaliapin The Lieutenant
Naomi Childers The Duchess
Charles Coleman The Major
Aina Constant Actor
Joseph Crehan Judge
William B. Davidson Judge
Natalie Draper Actor
Eddie Dunn Policeman
Jimmy Durante Actor
Rex Evans The Butler
Sam Flint The Flunky
Ziegfeld Girls Actor
Aileen Haley Actor
Harry Hayden Warden
George Hill Policeman
Van Johnson Guest
James King Actor
Peter Lawford Phone Voice
Avon Long Actor
Eugene Loring Costermonger
Noreen Nash Actor
Helen O'Hara Actor
Garry Owen Policeman
Jack Regas Actor
Elaine Shepard Actor
Count Stefanelli The Duke
Grady Sutton Texan
Ray Teal Policeman
Audrey Totter Operator
Arthur Walsh Telegraph Boy
Robert Wayne Old Man
Eve Whitney Actor
Kay Williams Woman

Technical Credits
Lemuel Ayers Director,Art Director,Screenwriter
Robert Lewis Director,Screenwriter
Vincente Minnelli Director
Roy Del Ruth Director
George Sidney Director
Norman Taurog Director
Charles Walters Director,Screenwriter
Albert Akst Editor
Mac Alper Set Decoration/Design
Robert Alton Choreography,Screenwriter
John Murray Anderson Screenwriter
Ralph Blane Score Composer,Screenwriter
Guy Bolton Screenwriter
Allen Boretz Screenwriter
Irving Brecher Screenwriter
Earl K. Brent Score Composer
Eddie Cantor Screenwriter
Edward C. Carfagno Production Designer
Eric Charell Screenwriter
Harry Crane Screenwriter
Jack Dawn Makeup
Tony Duquette Production Designer
Roger Edens Score Composer,Screenwriter
William Ferrari Cinematographer
George Folsey Cinematographer
Arthur Freed Score Composer,Producer
David Freedman Screenwriter
Devery Freeman Screenwriter
Everett Freeman Screenwriter
George Gershwin Score Composer
Ira Gershwin Score Composer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg Screenwriter
Lennie Hayton Musical Direction/Supervision
Lou Holtz Screenwriter
Irene Costumes/Costume Designer
Ray June Cinematographer
Al Lewis Screenwriter
Max Liebman Screenwriter
Don Loper Screenwriter
Eugene Loring Screenwriter
Wilkie Mahoney Screenwriter
Hugh Martin Score Composer,Screenwriter
Harry McAfee Production Designer
Jack McGowan Screenwriter
William Noble Screenwriter
James Rice Screenwriter
Merrill Pye Art Director
Samson Raphaelson Screenwriter
Philip Rapp Screenwriter
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Charles Rosher Cinematographer
Joseph Schrank Screenwriter
Irene Sharaff Production Designer
Jack Martin Smith Art Director
Frank Sullivan Screenwriter
Kay Thompson Score Composer,Screenwriter
Harry Tugend Screenwriter
Harry Warren Score Composer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
Edgar Allan Woolf Screenwriter
Kay Thompson Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Ziegfeld Follies
1. Overture [5:15]
2. Credits [2:17]
3. Heavenly Memories [5:36]
4. One More Follies [1:23]
5. Here's to the Girls [5:52]
6. Bring on Those Wonderful Men [2:27]
7. A Water Ballet [3:22]
8. Numbear Please [7:51]
9. Libiamo From La Traviata [3:30]
10. Pay the Two Dollars [8:04]
11. This Heart of Mine [12:06]
12. A Sweepstakes Ticket [10:01]
13. Love [4:44]
14. When Television Comes [5:35]
15. Limehouse Blues [13:38]
16. An Interview [10:28]
17. The Babbitt and the Bromide [7:17]
18. There's Beauty Everywhere [5:08]
19. Exit Music [2:47]


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Ziegfeld Follies 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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