5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Show On Earth!
I can't quite remember how old I was when I first saw this film, I must of been 4 or 5, all I remember was I didn't attend school yet, but, "The Great Ziegfeld", was the ultimate movie of my childhood. It's what first put the thought of making films in my head. Recently I viewed the movie again, and it's still as charming and as wonderful as ever! Just about every momemnt...
Published on July 14 2002 by Alex Udvary
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A SUPERB FILM BIO - ONLY AVERAGE LOOKING TRANSFER
"The Great Ziegfeld" is a biographic film based on the life of Broadway impressario, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. Brimming with stellar performances by William Powell, Myrna Loy and Luise Rainer (who walked off with the Best Actress Oscar)a wonderful score and mind-boggling production values, this is one heck of a good time for a night's entertainment!
Published on Feb. 3 2004 by Nix Pix
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A SUPERB FILM BIO - ONLY AVERAGE LOOKING TRANSFER,
TRANSFER: Unfortunately, Warner Brothers gives us a somewhat tired looking print of this classic film. Though the gray scale is generally well balanced, some of the picture appears to be out of focus while other portions are filled with excessive film grain. Dirt, age related artifacts and an incredible amount of scratches in some scenes really detract from the over all visual presentation. The audio is MONO and, as with the picture, is not adequate. During some of the songs the background hiss is excessive.
EXTRAS: A flimsy featurette that all too briefly attempts to "sum up" the film and the real life of one of the 20th century's greatest showman.
BOTTOM LINE: Because you are not likely to see this film revisited in a Deluxe Edition I am recommending to add it to your library. But it in no way stands up to Warner's previous DVD mastering efforts on "Now Voyager" or "Mildred Pierce".
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 stars.This Berkeley style musical throws out all the stops!,
There is no denying Ziegfeld`s great influence in the show business world,even to this day,and fewer still can match a track record of 24 years of lavish stage productions;1907 to 1932.This film does manage to capture the ``spirit`` of Ziegfeld however and MGMs pick of William Powell as Ziegfeld was a great choice.Luise Rainer plays his French wife,star Anna Held,and she got an OSCAR for her outstanding performance.In fact the picture got two more OSCARS,one for best picture and one for dance director Felix Seymour.This is also the closest any studio ever got to matching the lavishness and technical brilliance of Busby Berkeley musical numbers;any one of them could have given Berkeley a good run for his money in their design and execution.The huge sets are still breathtakingly beautiful to watch.
Technically the movie is,at times,a bit scratchy and it could certainly use a good remastering.But over all it is a clear and crisp print.Extras include a featurette on the making of the film and a rare vintage newsreel from the film`s premiere.The newsreel is a real kick as for the most part it is a camera staring at an open mike and stars waltzing up to it and saying a few syllables about anticipating the films premiere.Watch for a very young Ed Sullivan waxing lyrical,looking more like a member of the mob than the entertainment columnist and radio man he was(he Walter Winchell's biggest competition at that point).This film(thankfully)is the road show version which means you are getting the top dollar $2.20-of-the-day price version as opposed to the 176 minute pared down standard version.It is a whopping 185 minutes;that`s three hours and five minutes for those in Hoboken.But those 185 minutes go by quite fast,which is a sign of a very good film.
The Great Ziegfeld is an engrossing 185 minute juggernaut which does NOT fail to entertain and impress thanks to the performances of Rainer,Powell,Loy and its`great supporting cast.It`s lavish production and dance numbers are a sight to behold and they give Busby a real run for his money.This was MGM`s highest budgeted pic for the depression and a gamble,but it paid off and was a hit.You won`t find a factual biography of Ziegfeld but Powell`s resemblance and his turn as Flo give the film the impetus it needs to chug right along in grand style to the end.Recommended.
4.0 out of 5 stars epitome of 30s musicals,
4.0 out of 5 stars BLINDINGLY OPULENT AND SPELLBINDINGLY ENTERTAINING!,
Flo (William Powell)is a cheap carnival barker when he crosses paths with Anna Held (Luise Rainer). Their chemistry is instant and through her talent as an artist, fame comes to them both. However, all bliss is fleeting and their marriage ends when Flo takes up with a chorus girl. But he ditches her for sassy Billie Burke (Myrna Loy) and then proceeds to create a series of lavish spectacles that only MGM could afford to do justice to. The most spectacular of these remains "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody"; a gargantuan revolving platform covered in dancers and art deco magificence.
Aside: Flo's second wife, Billie was a contract player at MGM during this time. Her best known role is as 'Glinda' the witch of the north in "The Wizard of Oz".
TRANSFER: Surprisingly smooth and very well balanced black levels and a good gray scale are the real selling features of this 3 hr. plus spectacle. Unfortunately an excess of age related dirt and scratches greet the viewer throughout the first hour of running time. However, things get cleaned up half way through for a really stunning transfer. Shadows and contrast levels are exemplary. The audio is clean, well balanced and quite simply, one of the best you are likely to encounter for a film of this vintage.
EXTRAS: A couple of featurettes that round out the history of the film - all too briefly.
BOTTOM LINE: Next to "Yankee Doodle Dandy" - another show folk bio with guts, "The Great Ziegfeld" is most readily recognized as one of the best! Add it to your film library!
3.0 out of 5 stars Feel free to leave at Intermission,
4.0 out of 5 stars "Never looked so beautiful before.",
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Show On Earth!,
It's not hard to see why this movie won the best picture Oscar in 1936. The big sets, the lavish costumes, beautiful women, and the all-star cast headed by William Powell (whom sadly wasn't given a nomination for this film, but, was up that year anyway, for "My Man Godfrey")and including Myrna Loy (Whom has acted with Powell in "The Thin Man" in 1934, I think), Luise Rainer (Who won an Oscar for her role, she also won the following year for "The Good Earth"), Frank Morgan & Ray Bolger (Both probably best known for their roles in "The Wizard of Oz" Morgan - Oz, Bolger - The Scarecrow), Fanny Brice, and Virgina Bruce, are just a few of the famous face who appear in and out of this movie. One can only imagine, since I wasn't even born yet, what kind of reaction this film was received with when first released. I can only guess people were truly taken away with it. It really must of been something special to see this back then. This isn't really a great film. I enjoy it true, and I will continue to watch it again and again. But, this movie is just like the shows put on by Florenz Ziegfeld himself, an extravaganza! It "pretty" to watch. It's fun to go back in time and relive the past. To see what entertained people back then, but otherwise, this is not a "best picture" type of film. But, like I said, it's understandable as to why it won back then. People, I assume must of never seen a big, splashy movie like this before. And even in the modern world, I'm still amazed by it. Then again, I'm a bit bias towards these movies. I love films from the 30's and 40's. They're part of my childhood. Even though I'm 19.
"The Great Ziegfeld" tells the story of America's greatest showman, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. (William Powell). We see him at the Chicago World Fair in the late 1890's. He's struggling with a "world's strongest man" act. His main competition is Jack Billings (Frank Morgan), who also happens to be a close friend. He has a "women's show" called "Little Egypt". We see Ziegfeld, then turn himself into a great showman. By playing the press. He creates stories to keep his talent in the papers, then he gets a break. It meets Anna Held (Luise Rainer, and I agree with everyone on here, her performance is a standout. It's truly unforgettable). Who he opens a lot of doors for and she for him. But, it's not untill he gets an idea to do a "women's show" "glorifying" the everyday women, "The Ziegfeld Follies", that he achieves his greatest success. I really don't want to spoil too much of the film for those who haven't seen to film yet, but, that was a brief description of the events that take place.
"The Great Ziegfeld" went on to earn 7 Oscar nominations, and won 3;"Best Picture", "Best Actress" & "Best Dance Direction". The film's highpoints for me include the big elegant dance number of "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody" which goes into a medley including Puccini's Un Bel Di Verdremo, and closing with Gershwin's "Rhpasody In Blue". Then there's Ray Bolger's song and dance to "She's A Follies Girl". His dancing is really amazing and proves what type of talent he was. I also enjoyed seeing Buddy Dolye impersonate one of my favorites Eddie Canntor singing "If You Knew Susie". Seeing Fanny Brice sing "Yiddle On Your Fiddle" and "My Man" was also wonderful. There's a nice set piece when Vigina Bruce sings "You Never Looked So Beautiful" and hearing "You" put a smile on my face.
If you enjoy classic films, than this should please all filmbuffs. It's nice knowing, that while Hollywood can't make 'em like this anymore, I'm still able to revisit my childhood as long as we have these tapes.
Bottom-line: The ultimate movie of my childhood is one of the great early movie musicals of all time! Big and splashy it shows us what Hollywood was once like, and what it can never be like again. This is one to watch for it's "time capsule" purposes mostly.
4.0 out of 5 stars THE MASTER SHOWMAN.,
3.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous and Frustrating,
Unfortunately, the film is not as much fun as it sounds. The script and story give us an extremely sanitized and rather sentimental version of showman Flo Ziegfield, his loves, and his stars, and in spite of film's lavishness and fine performances, it gradually becomes a very mild but very elephantine movie that only really comes to life during its musical numbers. These a justly famous, with the "A Pretty Girl" number living up to its reputation as perhaps the single most extravagant musical number ever placed on film.
Luise Rainer's famous performance as Anna Held will charm virtually every viewer, and fans of Powell, Loy, and Morgan will certainly find much to enjoy--as will musical fans of all stripe. But even so, as the film drags on and on, most viewers will be tempted to hit the fast-forward button more than once.
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw it as a child.,
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The Great Ziegfeld by William Powell (DVD - 2010)
CDN$ 24.95 CDN$ 7.99