- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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The Great Ziegfeld
- Dashiell Barnes
This breathtaking musical deservedly won the Best Picture Oscar of '36. Powell is charming as the title character, Loy doesn't appear until 2 hours and 15 minutes into the film & Rainer won her first Academy Award as Powell's high-strung first wife. Historical accuracies are overshadowed by the entertaining music, lavish sets & costumes, particularly the Oscar-winning Dance direction of the "A Pretty Girl is like a Melody" number. An entertaining & fantastic film. I give it a 4.5/5.
Wish It Were In Color!
I watched this movie yesterday evening and could only say one thing: I wish it were in color! I can just imagine the lavish costumes and scenery in all their colorful splendor. And I could just imagine how many hundreds, if not thousands, of yards of fabric were needed for all the curtains. The sets were incredible. My gosh, the Follies must have been quite the sight to behold back in the day.
Rainer ruins film!
I try and catch this film about once a year, as the Ziegfeld Follies sequences are so extraordinary. Considering that this was released in 1936 but made earlier, it is really something to see so many beautiful young women in a day and age that had no "enhancements" available to ladies of the time. Bras weren't worn then and there was no such thing as plastic surgery. These gals advertised what they most certainly could deliver and they were just gorgeous! I've no idea why Rainer received the Oscar for this performance. She overacted in every film she appeared in and this one is no exception. Living in Europe, I can tell you that no French woman would ever have reacted to anything the way Ranier does as Anna Held. A Frenchman would divorce her in a trice! Rainer did this same sort of hand-wringing hysteria acting in "The Good Earth" and it drove me crazy then too. Rainer was Austrian and was brought to the US by MGM. She couldn't even speak English but her producer/mentor was Irving Thalberg. I strongly suspect it was that association that brought her the Oscars. It certainly wasn't her acting!
Wonderful biography, fantastic musical
I have seen The Great Ziegfeld numerous times, but this week I had the good fortune to see this classic film on the big screen, as a local movie theater in my Chicago neighborhood screened this film as part of its 75th anniversary, in which they are showing many classic films from 1936. I must say that seeing this on the big screen was truly delightful. The musical numbers really pop out at you, especially the classic "A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody," with its fantastic colossal set and hundreds of chorus men and women. The acting in the movie is also first rate. It's difficult to say which aspect I enjoyed more, the acting of the three major stars, or the wonderful muscial numbers. All in all, this is a film that is not to be missed. I have rented the DVD also from my library, and seeing that as well is a wonderful treat!
The Great Ziegfeld
- Mark Sutch
Who Needs Sleep?
- Nancy Hunt-McDonald
I have seen "The Great Ziegfeld" in parts, several times over the years, but started watching it late last night and could not stop. William Powell was at his acting best and the absolute splendor of the costumes and directing made this movie one of my new favorite classics.
Lavish and long
- Mr D
What a lavish spectacle of a movie! What an incredibly long movie! It took us the better part of 2 nights to watch the whole thing. The pairing of William Powell and Myrna Loy (actually close to the end of the movie) pre-dates the Thin Man series. Powell was good - he already had the trademark double-take when another character got off a good line. But he was so unanimated for much of the movie - I understand they were trying to represent his frustration & melancholy. Louise Rajner was way over the top as Ziegfeld's french wife Anna Held. I give this movie 3 stars: the show sequences are quite extraordinary, but at least by today's standards, they weigh the story down.
Excellent Best Picture
- Jarrod McDonald
With over three hours' running time, a great budget and a huge amount of advance publicity, The Great Ziegfeld in 1936 is what Gone with the Wind would be three years later: a cinematic event. And it was the first biography to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Considering the subject-- a popular, sensational Broadway producer-- one would expect to find the film version of his life a splashy spectacle...and it is, but the music and the dancing are almost secondary. It's the film's script (with smart dialogue and realistic scenes) and the dramatic performances of its stars that put it on top. William Powell is perfect in his portrayal of showman Flo Ziegfeld and Myrna Loy is utterly charming as his second wife, Billie Burke...but it's Luise Rainer (best actress winner) who truly shines. Her version of Ziggy's indecisive first wife is both hilarious and heartbreaking. The three leads receive able support from character actors Frank Morgan and William Demarest, plus cameos by Ray Bolger and Fanny Brice.
The producer that was a real star
- Judith Steeby
I don't pretend to be an expert on films, I only know what I like and this film was not only great entertainment but a look back at history. I remember listening to Fanny Brice on the radio when she played Baby Snooks, what a thrill to see her, even for a short time. Ziegfeld not only gave people their big break but he kept many people working. "The Great Ziegfeld" is a "really good show".