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Ziegfeld Follies [VHS]


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Ziegfeld Follies [VHS] + Irving Berlin's Easter Parade (1948) (MGM Musicals) [VHS]
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Product Details

  • Actors: William Powell, Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Fred Astaire, Lucille Bremer
  • Directors: Charles Walters, George Sidney, Lemuel Ayers, Merrill Pye, Robert Lewis
  • Writers: Al Lewis
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: MGM (Warner)
  • VHS Release Date: February 24, 1995
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6303224652
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,328 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Customer Reviews

It's a very interesting movie.
Charlotte Kendall
This is a fun video--- a lot of musical numbers that are upbeat--- loved the water ballet, Judy Garland's song--- but the best is Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire.
Pamela C. Cole
The DVD has for it's extras a collection of bonuses.
Matthew G. Sherwin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Charlotte Kendall on January 28, 2006
Format: DVD
This movie is more of an excuse to put all of MGM's stars into one movie. The movie is set up like it was a real Ziegfeld show. It has no plot, it's just a show with some variety acts from singing, to dancing and some comedy acts! William Powell is Ziegfeld and he is watching the show from Heaven. Anyway the acts include:

Here's to the Girls- Fred Astaire sing this number and it is danced by Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire. This a big production number with a chorus. Lucille Ball is in this number too. Virgina O'Brien appears right after this number and sings.

A Water Ballet- Esther Williams does what she does best, swims!

Number Please- This is a comedy skit with Keenan Wynn.

Traviata- A opera number with James Melton and Marion Bell.

Pay the Two Dollars- Another comedy skit with Victor Moore and Edward Arnold.

This Heart of Mine- Fred Astaire sings this number and dances with Lucille Bremer. A personal favorite.

A Sweepstakes Ticket- Another comedy skit with Fanny Brice, Hume Cronyn and William Frawley (Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy).

Love- The lovely Lena Horne sing this song. Another personal favorite!

When Television Comes- A comedy skit with Red Skelton.

Limehouse Blues- A dance number with Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer with a chorus. A very strange number in my opinion.

A Great Lady Has "An Interview"- A musical number with the great Judy Garland. Another favorite!

The Babbitt and the Bromide- Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly dance in this number. My favorite number in the whole movie!

Beauty- The lovely Kathryn Grayson sings this number. Also a chorus of girls. Cyd Charisse is the featured dancer in the bubbles.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Sean Orlosky on August 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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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 19, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
The Ziegfeld Follies were legendary stage shows that consisted entirely of musical numbers and comedy routines performed by some of the greatest stars of the day. When sound began to roar in the late 1920s, the movie studios followed the Ziegfeld form and quickly produced a series of films that were variety-show in nature. But the musical review is a form that really works best on stage before a live audience: in short order the movie-going public turned its back on the style in favor of musicals that offered increasingly complex, sophisticated, and sometimes unexpectedly dark stories.

In the 1940s MGM, famous for its musicals, unexpectedly decided to revive the form--and to do so in the style of producer Florenz Ziegfeld. The result was an outrageous budget that would have made Ziegfeld himself blanch, a wave of imaginative visuals that could have never been crammed onto even the biggest Broadway stage, a host of legendary performers, and the occasional comedy routine for relief from the sheer spectacle of it all.

The big hurdle for modern audiences is the fact that we have become accustomed to variety shows through television; they no longer have a unique appeal and it is difficult for us to sit through two hours of it. Even so, most musical fans will probably find ZIEGFELD FOLLIES worth the effort; although it has a few weak spots, it is easily one of the most visually stunning flights of fancy ever put on the screen.

The weakest links in the chain are the comedy routines, all of which seem insubstantial at best, slightly clunky at worst; still, they are amusing in an old-fashioned sort of way and it is always a pleasure to see the legendary Fannie Brice, no matter how inconsequential the script may be.
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