in about 100 words or less
US 185m, B&W
Director: Robert Z. Leonard; Cast: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Luise Rainer, Frank Morgan, Fanny Brice, Virginia Bruce, Reginald Owen, Ray Bolger, Ernest Cossart
The Great Ziegfeld is a lengthy and largely fictionalized biography of the theatrical impresario Florenz Ziegfeld who produced the Ziegfeld Follies – a series of spectacular early 19th century Broadway musical productions which were recreated for this film. Although the basic structure of the film recounts Ziegfeld’s illustrious life, which is depicted as a series of successes, excesses and failures – the plot is simply a vehicle for some of the most impressive stage performances ever filmed. Amongst the numerous lavishly recreated productions, the two most notable performances are relatively simple but self referencing productions which include Fanny Brice and Ray Bolger getting their “break” with the follies (Klaus Ming December 2010).