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Ziegfeld Follies Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

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 William Powell. Not so: this is more in the line of an all-star revue, much like such early talkies as William Powell and William Powell. 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 Costello) 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). 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. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:February 18, 1946

Cast

Fred Astaire
as Fred Astaire/Raffles/Tai Long
Lucille Ball
as The Princess
Lucille Bremer
as Princess/Moy Ling
Fanny Brice
as Norma
Judy Garland
as Herself
Gene Kelly
as Gene Kelly
William Powell
as The Great Ziegfeld
Kathryn Grayson
as Guest
Lena Horne
as Singer
Victor Moore
as Himself
Red Skelton
as Announcer/J. Newton Numbskull
Esther Williams
as Guest
Edward Arnold
as Lawyer
Cyd Charisse
as Ballet Dancer
Hume Cronyn
as Monty
William Frawley
as Mr. Martin
Virginia O'Brien
as Singer
Rex Evans
as The Butler
Charles Coleman
as The Major
Van Johnson
as Guest
Noreen Nash
Grady Sutton
as Texan
Karin [Katharine] Booth
William B. Davidson
as Judge
Jack Regas
Joseph Crehan
as Judge
Garry Owen
as Policeman
Peter Lawford
as Phone
Eddie Dunn
as Policeman
Harry Hayden
as Warden
Ray Teal
as Policeman
Audrey Totter
as Operator
Jimmy Durante
Elaine Shepard
Feodor Chaliapin, Jr.
as The Lieutenant
Eugene Loring
as Costermonger
Sam Flint
as The Flunky

Crew

Roy Del Ruth
Director
George Sidney
Director
Vincente Minnelli
Director
Charles Walters
Director
Norman Taurog
Director
Arthur Freed
Producer
Edgar Allan Woolf
Screenwriter
Allen Boretz
Screenwriter
Samson Raphaelson
Screenwriter
Wilkie Mahoney
Screenwriter
Charles Walters
Screenwriter
Harry Crane
Screenwriter
Joseph Schrank
Screenwriter
Max Liebman
Screenwriter
Eddie Cantor
Screenwriter
Guy Bolton
Screenwriter
Harry Tugend
Screenwriter
Don Loper
Screenwriter
Eugene Loring
Screenwriter
Philip Rapp
Screenwriter
William Noble
Screenwriter
Devery Freeman
Screenwriter
Ralph Blane
Screenwriter
Kay Thompson
Screenwriter
Irving Brecher
Screenwriter
Ray June
Cinematographer
William Ferrari
Cinematographer
George Folsey
Cinematographer
Arthur Freed
Composer (Music Score)
Harry Warren
Composer (Music Score)
Ira Gershwin
Composer (Music Score)
George Gershwin
Featured Music
Ralph Blane
Composer (Music Score)
Kay Thompson
Composer (Music Score)
Albert Akst
Editor
Irene Sharaff
Production Designer
Edward C. Carfagno
Production Designer
Tony Duquette
Production Designer
Merrill Pye
Art Director
Cedric Gibbons
Art Director
Jack Martin Smith
Art Director
Edwin B. Willis
Set Designer
Helen Rose
Costume Designer
Irene
Costume Designer
Jack Dawn
Makeup
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