This 1946 film celebrates the life, career, and showmanship of the late Florenz Ziegfeld, perhaps the most famous and influential Broadway producer in the early decades of the 20th century. The film, ostensibly directed by Vincente Minnelli, takes an unusual form. We open in Heaven, at the home of the late Ziegfeld (played by William Powell, who also played him in The Great Ziegfeld
), who thinks back on his life and wonders what kind of show he would put on with the talent of today (meaning 1946). What follows is an elaborately staged revue, similar to the blend of cheesecake, music, and comedy that made up the Ziegfeld Follies--but with the stars of that moment (plus actual Ziegfeld veteran Fanny Brice). The most welcome presence is Fred Astaire, who appears in three numbers--including the only dance number ever filmed that paired Astaire with Gene Kelly at the height of their powers. The contrast is fascinating. Otherwise, you get a number of musical scenes, the best of which features Lena Horne (singing "Love"), the worst Judy Garland (in "An Interview"). And there's plenty of other stuff: everything from an Esther Williams water ballet to an excerpt of La Traviata
to a variety of broadly acted vaudeville skits featuring actors Keenan Wynn, Edward Arnold, Fanny Brice, and Hume Cronyn. --Marshall Fine
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.