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Ziegfeld Follies (1946)

William Powell , Judy Garland , Charles Walters , George Sidney    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Ziegfeld Follies (1946) + Ziegfeld Girl [Import] + The Great Ziegfeld
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Product Description

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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

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL ENTERTAINMENT. Sept. 25 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Wow! What a wonderful potpourri of prime M-G-M talent, 1946 style! There are so many memorable bits in this fantastic extravaganza that it's just GOTTA have something to please most everyone who loves vintage musical entertainment. Filmed in magnificent old Technicolor, here's a treasure trove to behold with performances from some of yesteryears greatest stars: from Lucille Ball & Judy Garland to Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly. This film brought the studio over $5 million in profits and rather than give out plot details, I'll give you samples of just why: Florenz Ziegfeld is portrayed in Heaven by William Powell - The LIMEHOUSE BLUES number with Lucille Bremer and Fred Astaire - THE INTERVIEW by Judy Garland (originally intended for and offered to Greer Garson (!) - A glamourous red-head named Lucille Ball in the MEET THE LADIES number - Red Skelton doing his very funny WHEN TELEVISION COMES - LOVE as done by exquisite torch singer Lena Horne - THE DRINKING SONG from Verdi's opera LA TRAVIATA (performed by James Melton and Marion Bell). These aren't but half of what the viewer can expect upon watching this wonderful video - Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big names,big revue Hollywood style! Nov. 7 2008
By Robert Badgley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ziegfeld Follies was a movie fraught with so many delays,shooting schedule work arounds,cancellations,scene deletions,etc.,that this picture is one of very few to finally be released so long after its' original production had stopped.A few pre-release screenings were done in 1944 and 1945 but the film got such a tepid response it was returned to have more work done on it.The studio got the jitters and finally shelved it.
Fred Astaire personally wrote the production chief Arthur Freed wondering when the film would be released;he was very anxious to say the least.He told him it was the first time he had made a film that would be seemingly released so long a time afterwards or at all.Freed assured Fred that Ziegfeld Follies would be released in 1946 and not to worry.The film was copyrighted in 1946 but wasn't released nationwide until January 11,1948!
One of the other reasons Astaire was worried was that he felt his routines might get dated.He needn't have worried for the routines Fred appears in(there are three;technically four if you count his brief opener)are the highlights of this film.In fact after William Powell opens the movie reprising his /36 role as the show master himself,Florence Ziegfeld,Fred Astaire opens the movies' first number(in his trademark top hat and white tails!)with "Bring on the Beautiful Girls".We find a very young Cyd Charisse here along with then screen veteran Lucille Ball.Next we have swim star Esther Williams doing the "Water Ballet" sequence; it is amazing how graceful and poised she could be underwater.Next we have vaudeville star Ed Wynn's son,Keenan,doing a funny turn with "Number Please".Next famous tenor James Melton and Marion Bell do a fine number pulled from the opera La Traviata.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Great MGM Extravaganza! April 5 2001
Format:VHS Tape
"Ziegfled Follies", produced to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hollywood's greatest dream factory, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, certainly lives up to the MGM Motto: "Do It Big, Do It Right, and Give It Class". Although the comedy sketches leave something to be desired, the musical sequences are fabulous! "Ziegfeld Follies" features an elegant Lucille Ball cracking a whip (!) in the colorful "Bring on the Beautiful Girls" opening production number, the wonderful Esther Williams performing a stunning water ballet, the two breathtaking Fred Astaire-Lucille Bremer dance spectaculars: "This Heart of Mine" and "Limehouse Blues", the muli-talented Gene Kelly & Fred Astaire in "The Babbit and the Bromide", and the sensational finale, "There's Beauty Everywhere" with Kathryn Grayson, Cyd Charisse and lots and lots of bubbles! Wow! This film, directed by the keen-eyed Vincente Minnelli, took 2 years to complete and is one of the crowning achievements of the Arthur Freed Unit at MGM. The orchestrations, lighting, costumes, set design and art direction plus Minnelli's careful use of Technicolor all combine to showcase Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer at the pinnacle of what did best. This motion picture was also one of the first musicals recorded with multiple microphones, an early version of stereo. This video version has been digitally remastered to enhance the original recording. "Ziegfeld Follies" is a definite "must-have" for your video library. BUY IT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to "The Ziegfeld Follies"! Aug. 14 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This film has no plot at all, and it's wonderful. Sounds strange, doesn't it? Well, this is a movie that is just meant as effervescent, entertaining showmanship. The film opens in Heaven, where Florenz Ziegfeld dreams of who would have starred in his 1944 Ziegfeld Follies. The next two hours is Ziegfeld's dream unravelling as MGM's top talents perform wonderful, stagy production numbers and sketches: Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly (in their ONLY film appearance together!) perform a great tap dance number to "The Babbit and the Bromide". In one great comedy sketch, Fanny Brice is hilarious as a frumpy housewife who has just won "A Sweepstakes Ticket"... which she gave to her landlord (a pre- "I Love Lucy" William Frawley). Speaking of Lucy, you'll also find her here, more glamorous than ever, cracking a whip in the film's opening number. Esther Williams performs a water ballet, and Red Skelton shines in a great comedy sketch when he becomes drunk advertising for a product called "Guzzler's Gin". However, my favorite number is called "A Great Lady Gives An Interview", which stars Judy Garland as a suspiciously Greer Garson-accented "star" giving a ridiculous interview to a group of reporters. This witty, hilarious number will delight all fans of Garland, as it showcases her singing, dancing, and comedy abilities. That's what I love most about this film. Everybody is at the top of their form, and if they could do anything, name it: singing, dancing, acting, comedy, drama, they do it here. Although a few numbers are just a tad accentuated, this film is worth seeing and taking delight in any time. Bring on Metro's best: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Fanny Brice, Lucille Ball, Fanny Brice, Esther Williams, Keenan Wynn, Kathryn Grayson, Red Skelton... a great movie, worth seeing again and again.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Ziegfeld Follies
We love the old movies and especially some of the musicals, this DVD is very good and in good condition, more than satisfied
Published 10 months ago by Arlene Mcdermott
3.0 out of 5 stars Film a sketches !
Produit conforme a l'annonce. Film a sketches de numéros musicaux pas aussi intéressant les une que les autres mais il demeure tout de même un classique. Read more
Published 21 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Another heavenly day... it's always a heavenly day
In this truly delightful MGM production, as others have mentioned, there is no overall plot! The story is held together with the 14 individual numbers. Read more
Published on Jan. 29 2003 by Priscilla Stafford
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful musical treat!
I highly recommed this musical. It has so many song
and dance numbers in it. The costumes are really
great to. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2001 by Rosella Ann Myles
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Forties Pop-up Book Starring MGM�s Best!
This deliciously opulent extravaganza was a concept piece, conjured-up by the dream masters at MGM to feature their stable of top stars in outlandish musical production numbers or... Read more
Published on June 13 2000 by Michael Puckett
5.0 out of 5 stars Lucy was absolutely gorgeous!
Lucy was so stunning in this movie. I know she only had a tiny part, but she made a spectacular entrance, and the screen just lit up at her presence. Read more
Published on April 9 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Filmed
An interesting premise of what sort of variety show the famous Ziegfield might have created from the talent pool of 1940s MGM bears extremely mixed results, ranging from the... Read more
Published on Oct. 3 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A sheer delight from A to ZZZZZZZiegfeld!
This exquisite jewel in MGM's crown was conceived as a prestige production for the studio over a period of 3 years. Read more
Published on June 21 1999 by porter@chilli.net.au
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