Ziegfeld Follies (film)

Infobox Film | name = Ziegfeld Follies

caption =Ziegfeld Follies movie poster with cariacature of Lucille Ball
director =Roy Del Ruth and Vincente Minnelli
producer = Arthur Freed
writer =
starring =Fred Astaire
Lucille Ball
Lucille Bremer
Fanny Brice
Judy Garland
Kathryn Grayson
Lena Horne
Gene Kelly
James Melton
Victor Moore
Red Skelton
Esther Williams
William Powell
Edward Arnold
Marion Bell
Cyd Charisse
Hume Cronyn
William Frawley
Robert Lewis
Virginia O'Brien
Keenan Wynn
music =
cinematography =
editing =
distributor = MGM
released = February 18, 1946 (U.S. release)
runtime = 110 min.
language = English
budget =
amg_id = 1:56149
imdb_id = 0039116

"Ziegfeld Follies" (MGM) is a 1946 Hollywood musical comedy film, directed by Roy Del Ruth and Vincente Minnelli, starring many of MGM leading talents, including Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Lucille Bremer, Judy Garland, Kathryn Grayson, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, James Melton, Victor Moore, William Powell, Red Skelton, and Esther Williams. It also featured Fanny Brice, the only cast member to have actually starred in the original Ziegfeld Follies.

Producer Arthur Freed wanted to create a film along the lines of the Ziegfeld Follies Broadway shows and so the film is composed of a sequence of unrelated lavish musical numbers and comedy sketches. Although produced in 1944-45, it was released in 1946, to considerable critical and box-office success.

Key songs/dance routines

Dance director was Robert Alton, Astaire's second-most-frequent choreographic collaborator after Hermes Pan. All of Astaire's numbers were directed by Vincente Minnelli.

* "Here's To The Girls/Bring On The Wonderful Men": by Roger Edens and Arthur Freed. Sung by Astaire with a short solo dance by Cyd Charisse, followed by Lucille Ball cracking a whip over eight chorus-girl panthers, and finally Virginia O'Brien spoofs the previous scene by singing "Bring on those Wonderful Men"
* "This Heart of Mine": Classic standard by Harry Warren and Arthur Freed and written specially for Astaire who sings it to Bremer and then leads her in an extravagantly romantic dance of seduction and power-play. The choreography integrates rotating floors, concealed treadmills and swirling dance motifs.
* "Love": Another standard, this time by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, sung by Lena Horne
* "Limehouse Blues": Conceived as a "dramatic pantomime" with Astaire as a proud but poverty-stricken Chinese labourer whose infatuation with the unattainable Bremer leads to tragedy. The story serves as bookends for a dream ballet inspired by Chinese dance motifs in an unfortunate, racially stereotyped setting.
* "The Great Lady Has An Interview": Written by Kay Thompson originally for Greer Garson (she turned it down). Judy Garland spoofs a movie star who can only be cast in Oscar winning dramas, but wants to play "sexy" roles (a la Greer Garson, or Katharine Hepburn) giving an interview to dancing reporters about "her next picture": a bio-pic of Madame Cremantante (the "inventor of the safety pin"). Originally to be directed by Garland's friend Charles Walters, Vincente Minnelli ended up directing the sequence (the two were dating at the time), and Walters was reassigned as choreographer.
* "The Babbitt And The Bromide": Astaire and Kelly team up in a comedy song and dance challenge in three sections, to music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. All choreography was by Astaire (third section) and Kelly (sections one and two). In spite of efforts by Freed and Minnelli, the two would not partner again on film until "That's Entertainment, Part II" in 1976.
* "There's Beauty Everywhere": Originally filmed as a balletic finale with tenor James Melton singing and Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, and Lucille Bremer dancing in a melange of soap bubbles. But when the bubble machine malfunctioned (leaving only a fragment of the number filmed) and the formula flowed into the hallways of the soundstage, the number had to be restaged. Kathryn Grayson replaced Melton and Astaire and Bremer were cut out altogether. Segments of the "bubble dance" with Charisse remain in the final film.

External links

*imdb title | id=0039116 | title=Ziegfeld Follies (1946)
* [http://www.thejudyroom.com/discography/soundtracks/follies.html The Judy Garland Online Discography "Ziegfeld Follies" pages.]


John Mueller: "Astaire Dancing - The Musical Films of Fred Astaire", Knopf 1985, ISBN 0-394-51654-0

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